Prenuptial, Postnuptial and Reconciliation Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement between spouses made in contemplation of the marriage that serves to protect individual assets and other rights during the marriage and in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements are enforceable provided they are fair and just. D’Onofrio v. D’Onofrio, 200 N.J. Super. 361 (App. Div. 1985). To be fair and just, the parties must fully disclose their income and assets prior to the execution of the prenuptial agreement and the prenuptial agreement cannot be unconscionable. Marschall v. Marschall, 195 N.J. Super. 16 (Ch. Div. 1984). Today, the enforceability of a prenuptial agreement is controlled by statute N.J.S.A. 37:2-31 to -41.

Postnuptial Agreements

Unlike a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement is an agreement between spouses made during the marriage to protect individual assets and other rights in the event of a divorce. Postnuptial agreements are enforceable provided they are fair at the time they are made and fair at the time that they are sought to be enforced. Pacelli v. Pacelli, 319 N.J. Super. 185 (App. Div. 1999). This is a heightened and difficult standard to meet.

Reconciliation Agreements

Unlike a prenuptial agreement, and similar to a postnuptial agreement, a reconciliation agreement is an agreement between spouses made during the marriage to protect individual assets and other rights in the event of a divorce. However, a reconciliation agreement differs from a postnuptial agreement in that a reconciliation agreement is made after the marital relationship has deteriorated to the brink of an indefinite separation or a suit for divorce. A reconciliation agreement contains a spousal promise that induces a reconciliation. Reconciliation agreements are enforceable provided they are fair at the time they are made and fair at the time that they are sought to be enforced. Nicholson v. Nicholson, 199 N.J. Super. 525 (App. Div. 1985).

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