Tag: Help with Mid-Marriage Agreement Toms River NJ

An experienced Family Law Attorney Will Help you Understand the Different Concepts that may Affect your Personal Case.

If you want a mid-marriage agreement in the Monmouth and Ocean County area, it needs to be crafted fairly and with an eye to an objectively reasonable outcome.

What Are the Key Differences Between a Marriage Settlement, Postnuptial, and Marital Separation Agreement in NJ?Marital settlement agreements (MSA) identify rights and obligations concerning marital assets, debts, equitable property distribution, and, if appropriate, alimony, child custody, and child support. A principal difference among these agreements is when they are made, since they are generally designed to protect assets acquired during the marriage. Often known as property settlement agreements (PSA), they are entered into after divorce proceedings and consequently when the marriage has lost its vitality.

Postnuptial agreements are relatively new types of agreements that couples enter into after they have married or have entered into a civil union. They may also be an intra-marital mid-marriage agreement or even a reconciliation agreement. Such contracts are typically entered into by spouses before the marriage loses much of its vitality. They define certain property rights and other issues such as equitable division of assets, alimony, wills, trusts, and insurance policies but exclude child support and child custody matters.

As addressed in the case of Pacelli v. Pacelli by the Appellate Division in New Jersey, the key to the enforceability of a post-marital agreement is that it is fair and equitable at the time of its entry and remains fair and equitable at the time of its sought enforcement. Under the guise of a mid-marriage agreement and with two children from their ten-year relationship, the husband in this landmark case presented his wife with an ultimatum, “he would divorce her unless she agreed to certain terms regarding their economic relationship. To punctuate his demand, [the husband] moved out of the marital bedroom and into an apartment above their garage.” Feeling forced by the imbalanced economic dynamics and as if she needed to decide between the destruction of their family and the stigma of a failed marriage, or to simply agree, she agreed to her husband’s terms.

Thus the Appellate Court ruled that the mid-marriage agreement signed by the Pacelli spouses fixing the terms of their economic relationship was not enforceable under the law.

What are Other Differences Between a Mid-Marriage Agreement & Property Settlement Agreement?

Often in a mid-marital agreement, couples experience a negative emotional or financial change in the marriage, which necessitates a change. Typically the parties are no longer on an equal footing. One party becomes less interested than the other party in ending the marriage, or one party seems to have more authority or control. This change in dynamics may result in one party, as in Pacelli v. Pacelli, feeling forced or coerced into signing off on a postnuptial agreement.

For a postnuptial agreement to be considered valid in New Jersey, there must at least be:

  • no duress or coercion,
  • equitable and fair terms,
  • independent legal representation for both parties, and
  • full financial disclosures by both parties.

With careful drafting and the appropriate language, a mid-nuptial agreement that takes into account the current marital circumstances, as well as possible future contingencies, is critical to helping to avoid possible pitfalls which may seem unfair if a spouse waives their interest in an asset or business which has later increased in value.

As a reminder, a Property Settlement Agreement (PSA), also known as a Marriage Settlement Agreement (MSA), covers not only the equitable distribution of property but also child custody, parenting time, division of assets (including personal property, heirlooms, real estate like the marital home, retirement assets and pensions, cryptocurrency, and businesses), alimony, and any other additional matter which have to be clarified in the event of a divorce or civil union dissolution.

Regardless of the type of postnuptial agreement, strict standards protect all parties and ensure a smooth divorce process.

How Does a Marital Separation Agreement Differ From a Postnuptial Agreement?

How Does a Marital Separation Agreement Differ From a Post-nuptial Agreement?New Jersey does not have legal separations, so couples seeking to separate can file for a divorce from bed and board. Following New Jersey Statute 2A:34-3, a divorce from bed and board can be granted for the same reasons as a regular divorce. Both parties must request relief and show evidence for reasons which merit the divorce, which will not prejudice either party from filing for a full divorce later.

By preparing a separation agreement, spouses can resolve child custody, child support, equitable distribution of property, alimony, and any outstanding marital debt. Survivor benefits under many pension plans, and certain federal benefits, such as spousal social security retirement benefits, may be preserved during the divorce from bed and board.

Once the separation agreement is notarized, all the debts and assets shared by the couple are considered frozen and divided separately for each spouse. After a divorce from bed and board is granted, all new property rights stop accruing as if the parties had obtained an absolute divorce. Therefore, equitable distribution ends at the time of the entry of the divorce from bed and board. From a purely economic standpoint, the marriage is essentially over.

Although spouses legally separated by Divorce from Bed and Board are not obligated to live together, they are still subject to other responsibilities that come with being married (i.e., remaining faithful and respectful of the other’s wants and needs and assisting the other when necessary.

Contact a Postnuptial Agreement Attorney Serving Couples in Ocean and Monmouth County towns including Toms River, Wall, Asbury Park, Point Pleasant, and Brick, NJ

Postnuptial agreement attorney Peter J. Bronzino takes pride in serving couples from local Jersey Shore communities, including Bay Head, Wall, Toms River, Brick, Beach Haven, Lavallette, and across all of Monmouth and Ocean County, New Jersey. Attorney Bronzino started The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC in 2010 to provide clients with excellent legal protection while dedicating all of his efforts to achieving their desired results when prioritizing their individual needs.

The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC is built on the belief that strong attorney-client relationships lead to greater client satisfaction. We keep clients involved and informed throughout the legal process, allowing us to provide the highest level of focused legal service.

If you are considering drafting or modifying a postnuptial, prenuptial, separation, or cohabitation agreement, please contact us online or through our Sea Girt or Brick, NJ offices by calling (732) 812-3102 today for a free and confidential consultation.

Seasoned Family Law Attorney Helps you Manage the Conflict Between a Mid-Marriage Agreement and an early Divorce.

Indecisiveness is probably an issue that couples considering divorce have in common.

Can A Mid-Marriage Agreement Prevent An Early Divorce?Not having a clear plan or solid reasons to dismantle a marriage might push partners into reconsidering staying married, especially if they face significant expenses as they move towards the divorce initiation stage.

Bringing up a divorce may have been motivated by issues related to lack of respect and trust between the partners, infidelity, or domestic violence. As the divorce process moves forward, the involved parties will expose their versions of the facts, perhaps worsening the existing trust issues.

Numerous relationship inconsistencies translate into financial setbacks during the divorce for either one or both parties. And on top of that, the less comfortable each side feels with trusting what the other one offers, the less possible it is to reach an amicable settlement. The challenge is to bring these two parties together to either remain in a married status and improve their relationship, despite not being able to foretell what the future might bring now that the divorce process has already begun.

What Is a Mid-Marriage Agreement in New Jersey?

First, it’s important to go over the basics of Prenuptial Agreements, drafted and signed before getting married. The Prenup Act does not apply to any agreements made by an already married couple. To better understand a post-nuptial agreement, we will illustrate it with three cases.

1. Viability of a post-nuptial agreement

In Barbour v Barbour (1893), a trial court executed a Post-Nuptial Agreement between a married couple who had already gone into a reconciliation process to benefit from an economic agreement. The trial court determination was annulled by the Appellate Division in Barbour v Barbour (1895) because the post-nuptial agreement had not been recorded in writing. Although, it is important to point out that the court did dictate the post-nuptial agreement breached the State’s public policy or that the agreement would violate the State’s interest in continuing with a married status. The Barbour case clearly demonstrated that New Jersey State’s common-law supports the capacity of married people to set a contract during the marriage, outlining their marital rights and responsibilities when facing divorce.

2. Mid-Marriage Agreement being enforced in equity

Nicholson v Nicholson (1985) referred back to the Barbour decision and decided that the Barbour law was still enforceable after many years. Married people have the ability to write an agreement on their marital rights. Based on this case, the Court set specific rules on how Mid-Marriage Agreement is enforced in equity:

– The promise to reconcile was proposed because there was a marital disagreement.

– The agreement complies with the Statute of Frauds as much as required.

– The agreement terms must be meticulously stated and recorded.

– Whichever party is wanting to execute the agreement must be acting in good faith.

The Nicholson case supports the suggestion that an unpretentious marital disagreement would suffice for establishing a fair Mid-Marriage or Post-Nuptial Agreement.

3. Nature and enforceability of post-nuptial agreements

Contact our Divorce Lawyers for a Free Consultation at our Brick OfficeIn Pacelli v Pacelli (1999), the case focuses on how and why post-nuptial agreements should come into effect. Based on the Nicholson case, the Appellate Division in the Pacelli case determined that the parties could move into the stage or Mid-Marriage Agreement execution, as long as there was an actual marital disagreement or the breach, and trusting on a fair and equitable agreement for both parties, at the time it was signed and recorded.

Establishing a Mid-Marriage Agreement could potentially resolve any issues holding married people back from giving reconciliation a try.

Contact our Matrimonial Law Attorneys for a Free Consultation at our Brick Office

If you or a loved one are having a marital disagreement and would like to understand how a Mid-Marital Agreement can protect your financial stability and estate while preserving the marriage, you are entitled to seek the professional advice of a matrimonial lawyer to guide your case and safeguard your best interests.

Seasoned divorce and family law attorney Peter Bronzino, Esq, regularly assists clients with marital agreements before, during, and after marriage and divorce throughout Monmouth and Ocean County, such as Berkeley, Spring Lake, and Toms River. Whether you are currently working on drafting a post-nuptial agreement or would like to understand how making an agreement with your spouse after you are married benefits you, get in touch with us.

To schedule a free and confidential consultation with our firm today regarding your marriage and family legal issues, please send us a message or call (732) 812-3102 to speak to an attorney who can help.