Tag: prenuptial agreement lawyer spring lake nj

Redefining the Use of Prenuptial Agreements in Freehold and Toms River, NJ

Different from the past, more younger couples opt for a prenuptial agreement to cover aspects like student debt and other up-to-date topics.

Are Prenuptial Agreements Becoming a Trend?In New Jersey, as in all of the United States, marriage is a court-enforced union that brings many benefits and conditions to a couple’s legal and financial life. When a couple splits, however, the process of dividing their assets is a matter that must be settled, either by a couple or by the courts. New Jersey is a state that follows the equitable distribution model in divorce: when a couple legally dissolves the union, marital assets are distributed based on considerations the Superior Court: Family Part reviews, if the couple cannot come to a settlement agreement with the help of their own legal counsel or mediators. Assets obtained or developed while the couple is married are legal property of both parties, and if the spouses divorce, each has a fair claim to the assets, including savings, properties, valuables, and investments.

Because marriage is such a binding reality, and in this day and age, more and more young professionals are deciding to get married and bringing in assets of their own, many couples are choosing to develop prenuptial agreements to protect personal assets and prior investments in the case that the union dissolves.

Read on to learn more about the uptick in prenuptial agreements and why it is important to hire a family lawyer to help you with your prenup.

Prenups on the Rise Among Millennials

A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that outlines each individual’s rights and outlines specific conditions and controls, should the marriage be legally dissolved due to divorce or even death. Couples entering into prenuptial agreements generally outline such elements as distribution of particular assets and spousal support or alimony rights.

Many believe that only very wealthy couples enter into prenuptial agreements, or that signing a prenup means that the marriage is fated to fail. Neither of these is true. In fact, Business Insider reports that no evidence exists that couples who have a prenuptial agreement have a higher divorce rate than those who don’t. As more and more millennials are getting married, many of whom have established professional careers and a sense of independence that lends itself to forming a prenuptial agreement to protect one’s own assets in the long term, a more diverse subset of people in New Jersey include prenups in their marital preparations.

According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, more millennials are requesting prenuptial agreements. The study notes that later marriage and student loan debt play a role in the decision to sign a prenup. Over 60 percent of lawyers polled noted a rise in the number of prenuptial agreements among this population. And CNBC reported that prenuptial agreements have skyrocketed in the past two decades to five times their prior rate.

Common Reasons to Draft a Prenup in NJ

Family Law & Prenuptial Agreement Law Firm in Ocean County, NJAs noted above, many millennials are interested in protecting their assets, as they are developing their professional lives and marrying later than prior generations. Other common reasons that a couple would elect to enter into a prenuptial agreements to protect a business or joint venture in the case of a divorce and to protect dependents such as children. In order to prevent assets from being equitably distributed in a divorce in a manner that does not suit the couple, they may determine how certain assets would be distributed, allowing them to rest at ease that those assets are protected in the future.

Spouses of millennials with substantial student loan debt may want to enter into a prenuptial agreement to protect against inheriting that debt, just as those with substantial savings may want to protect their assets from equitable distribution once they become maritally claimable.

Profile of Couples Getting Prenups

The profile of the couple entering into a prenuptial agreement is diversifying. While traditionally, mostly very wealthy couples entered into prenuptial agreements, as the profile of New Jersey couples is changing, the profile of the ‘prenup couple’ is changing. Millennials filing prenuptial agreements is on the rise, as couples who have waited until later to marry seek to protect their professionally-gained assets and protect from taking on educational debt of their spouses.

Retain a Respected Ocean Township Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer to Draft Your Document

Having an experienced family law attorney on your side to help you draft a prenuptial agreement is an essential asset. New Jersey marital law is binding and the state’s equitable distribution model ensures a fair separation that may not suit the needs of each spouse in a relationship in the case of divorce. Having clear expectations and agreements about the agreed-upon distribution of assets and potentially spousal support, as well as other factors, is important when the couple is on the same page and seeing eye to eye. An experienced lawyer knows nuances of asset distribution that a couple entering into marriage will likely not have any idea about, and as such, their perspective is invaluable.

Are you entering into a marriage in New Jersey and want to protect your assets, as well as protect yourself from taking on your partner’s debts? Our family law team at Bronzino Law can help. We have successfully supported hundreds of clients in drafting a comprehensive and tight prenuptial agreement in Monmouth Beach, Red Bank, Rumson, Sea Bright, Bayhead, Long Beach Township, and other towns along the Jersey Shore. Contact us at (732) 812-3102 for a free consultation to discuss your marriage preparation today.

Influence of Commingling Assets in the New Jersey Divorce Process

Commingled Assets & Divorce Process in NJ

Divorce can be especially complicated when finances are discussed because New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state when it comes to divorce settlements, which means the assets are not split down the middle, 50/50. Both sides submit evidence to demonstrate how much was earned and by whom while balancing the possibly missed earnings due to giving up a career and possibly furthering education to care for the home. If you have an excellent divorce lawyer, the financial part of your divorce, which is usually by far the longest, can be managed by an experienced professional who is looking out for you and your assets.

Commingled: What is it and How Will It Effect a Settlement?

Properties, investments, and items such as jewelry, boats, horses, and vehicles become commingled in a marriage when their titles are placed in both spouses’ names or they are purchased or maintained using the couple’s shared account. When discussing the accounts themselves, any salaries, profits, or dividends from a spouse’s property that is placed into a shared account is considered marital property. Also, any money from a separate account that is used for shared expenses is also considered commingling.

Handling Separate Bank Accounts in a NJ Divorce

A separate account is not protected from equitable distribution if the funds received were from a salary, if the money has been used to pay household expenses, or if a spouse received a windfall such as winning the lottery or an inheritance but makes purchases using that money which will benefit both spouses (such as property, vehicles, home improvements, etc.).

For a separate account to remain exclusively to one spouse, a good rule of thumb is to make sure the account is in one person’s name; deposits are not from job earnings, funds are not used for bills or purchases which contribute to the household. Also, money that is deposited before the marriage and is not used during the marriage is usually not a part of the equitable distribution.

Difficulties with Avoiding Commingling Assets in a Marriage

It is extremely difficult to avoid commingling assets, especially in marriages that last longer and have minor children. If the house is exclusively in one spouse’s name, and the mortgage payments are made from their separate or joint account, the house, considered the family home, is a commingled asset even when one spouse does not make any of the payments. That goes for vehicles and other assets as well. Conversely, if a property is owned before the marriage and all debts or income made from that property is in a separate account, unused with regard to household expenses or debts, it is not eligible for equitable distribution.

To avoid commingling assets, a joint bank account should be set up for all the income and expenditures for the household. Both spouses can contribute to that account and use it for bills, the mortgage, car insurance payments, and the like. At the same time, any property brought into the marriage that is purchased or inherited should stay in the owner’s name exclusively. In a separate account, all the income and expenses should be done through that separate account.

Some would advise keeping only one name on credit cards and investment accounts, but if charges were made for daily expenses, home repairs, shopping, the debt is shared as it would be for the household.

Consequences if One of the Spouses Takes Money out of Bank Accounts

Occasionally, a spouse will empty all accounts before or shortly after the divorce is filed in order to avoid having those funds eligible for equitable distribution or to take them as revenge, leaving the other spouse destitute. The court does not take this action lightly and can order repayment with interest, including any charges due to insufficient funds. The judge may place expensive financial sanctions and could order any fees associated with lawyers and investigators who were specifically hired to find the stolen cash. If the money has been spent, the spouse who took it could be required to return the money through augmented support payments.

Financially Protect Your Assets with a Prenuptial Agreement in New Jersey

Commingled: What is it and How Will It Effect a Settlement?No one wants to contemplate the possibility of divorce before the ink is dry on the marriage license, but having a lawyer draw up a prenuptial agreement is one way both soon-to-be spouses can be assured that their assets will be divided into their terms partially, if not completely. A prenup is a smart move for all couples, not just wealthy ones. People are getting married well into their 30’s and a substantial number of them have their own assets (such as property and savings) while they are single.

A postnuptial contract takes place after the couple has married but has a similar function to that of a prenup. It allows for the couple to decide who gets what in case of a divorce. The benefit of these two contracts besides each keeping their assets is they could make the equitable distribution process more condensed.

Another option is for the future spouse to print (or digitally store) copies of all of the financial documents to indicate how much they are bringing into the relationship.

In the case of an inheritance, to protect it, the account it is in must be in one name only. The funds cannot be used for household expenses, purchases that benefit the household, home repairs, additional property, etc. If it is placed in a separate account, in the recipient’s name, and isn’t used for expenses pertaining to the home, it is usually deemed separate.

Can I Open a New Account During the Divorce?

Yes, but with the understanding that if your salary is deposited there or you opened the account with funds from the joint account, it could be seen as commingled and therefore, eligible to be distributed.

Sort through the Details of Your Assets with Help from our Divorce Lawyers at Bronzino Law Firm in Brick and Sea Girt NJ

If there is one thing people hate more than talking about politics, it’s talking about money. Many couples are woefully ill-prepared when it comes to the financial state of their marriage. An exceptional lawyer can prepare and present your case in a way that will assure you don’t give up more than what is fair. Your rights are primordial. Don’t let “advice” from family and friends be your guide. If you are contemplating divorce or your spouse has filed for divorce, it is in your best interests to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. A professional such as those at the Bronzino Law Firm has the answer to your pressing questions.

The Bronzino Law Firm has experienced division of assets attorneys who have been helping people in a situation like yours for many years. Divorce is a complex process that can last from 8 to 12 months or more. You deserve excellent representation during this difficult and stressful time.

Call the Bronzino Law Firm at (732) 812-3102 for your no-cost, no obligation consultation. We serve clients throughout Monmouth and Ocean County, including those in Rumson, Howell, Sea Girt, Toms River, and all along the Jersey Shore.

Family Law Attorneys Advising on the Importance of a Valid Prenuptial Agreement

Professionally Serving in Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, and Ocean and Monmouth Counties.

Determining the Validity and Enforceability of a Prenuptial Agreement As a PriorityAs part of the wedding planning checklist, multiple soon-to-be-wed couples decide or are mandated by their loved ones to develop a prenuptial agreement, protecting their rights and assets if they face a later divorce or the passing of one of the spouses. Prenuptial agreements generally are a compilation of clauses describing how one or both parties would give up their rights, contrary to how it would usually flow in the absence of a prenuptial agreement. Some commonly found exclusions are receiving less than would be considered equitable distribution, less alimony or no alimony grant at all, not participating in family trusts or businesses, or alimony calculation not based on any trust income.

Are Prenuptial Agreements Unequal?

Having completed the prenup stage probably gives a sense of relief to most people —particularly to the party needing to protect their interests— trusting that most of the problematic issues faced in a divorce process will be covered in the prenuptial agreement, thus making it uneventful. In reality, that is hardly ever the case, and there are two main reasons this happens. The party that is less favored by the prenuptial agreement usually chooses to store it away and forget about it. So instead of working around the dispositions on this binding agreement as soon as it is recorded, several judges prefer to face the issue while ruling the final stages of the divorce. Therefore it might be months or years later that parties will be required to discuss its clauses and attempt mediation.

Time and again, what heavily weighs on the result of a divorce process is whether the prenuptial agreement has already been enforced or not. Parties end up investing a good portion of their financial assets on expert and legal fees while discussing and analyzing businesses or properties that are not suitable for equitable distribution once the agreement has been enforced.

Exceptions to Enforceability of a Prenuptial Agreement

A divorce process involving a prenuptial agreement starts with the spouse pleading for or against the prenup. Putting away a prenuptial agreement is complicated, as the legislation dictates that prenuptial or premarital agreements are always enforceable, except if the spouse wanting to disregard the agreement can prove with enough burden of proof the following:

1. the agreement was executed involuntarily;

2. the agreement seemed outrageous when initially enforced (the exception is reserved for pre-Amendment prenuptial agreements;

3. the Court has to review excessiveness at the time of implementation), the issue of unreasonable stipulations on a prenuptial agreement needs to be determined by a Court;

Exceptions to Enforceability of a Prenuptial Agreement4. if said party fits into either one of the following scenarios before the agreement application:

  • The party was not granted a fair and complete explanation of the other party’s property, income, and financial obligations.
  • The party did not voluntarily and clearly expressed the desire to waive (in writing) all rights to inform about financial obligations or property of the other party aside from what was formally disclosed.
  • The party was not properly aware of the financial obligations or property belonging to the other party.
  • The party did not seek independent legal advice and voluntarily waived the option to discuss the agreement with an independent legal advisor.

Nevertheless, the agreement is deemed outrageous if it leaves the spouse without reasonable support. This may be the case if the prenup’s terms would have the spouse become a public charge or if the standard of living it would allow is far from what the spouse was entitled to before the marriage.

Requesting to Set Aside a Prenuptial Agreement

Most of the time, the request to put away a prenuptial agreement is part of the “Whereas” clause along with the other requests for support (child support, alimony, restoration of maiden name, equitable distribution, fees). The Whereas clause explains the reasons for the execution of the contract as well as its purpose. According to New Jersey law, alleged fraud must be plead satisfying the elements of the claim.

More often than not, when cases are presented to judges, a party might request to store the agreement and request a further investigation to decide if they can prove the prenuptial agreement should be put away. Judges do allow parties to do this, regardless of the agreements, often including waivers on requiring validations or business appraisals, waivers of getting evidence regarding values included in the provided balance sheets, and waivers of further discovery (further evidence researching).

Matters get more complicated when parties have to spend tens or even thousands of dollars evaluating businesses involved, not having a positive outcome. According to the marriage date and when the complaint is filed, these businesses must be evaluated twice to calculate any increment in the value. However, if an agreement is upheld, it would still not be eligible for distribution.

If the Court arranges a plenary hearing to establish the legitimacy of the prenuptial agreement, there should also be some discovery regarding the stipulations in the agreement in an attempt to point out any irregularities in the agreement, thus having the party relying on the agreement, having to pay an additional amount.

Contact our Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers for a Free Consultation Motions for support pending litigation are often made and thought about seriously when the prenuptial agreement includes a waiver of both alimony and support pending litigation (pendente lite support). If the pendente lite support is greater than what is affordable under the agreement, the divorce case will not settle because the party receiving the support would accept a larger sum than what they are entitled to. Judges will generally rule that support is “without prejudice,” and the financially responsible party will qualify for a credit (if the prenup agreement is enforced).

If you are interested in learning more about prenuptial agreement, pros, cons, and why you should consider signing a prenup before getting married, click the link. You can also discuss your particular case and your needs by contacting our legal team.

Will Your Prenup Stand up during Divorce? Contact our Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one are going through a divorce process and would like to understand your rights and responsibilities better when writing and enforcing a prenuptial agreement, seek legal advice to discuss the best way to protect your interests.

At the Bronzino Law Firm, we take pride in successfully representing clients in Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, and across Ocean and Monmouth Counties. Whether you are currently involved in a divorce process or are considering initiating one, do not let a flawed prenuptial agreement affect your estate.

Contact us online or at our Brick or our Sea Girt offices by calling (732) 812-3102 today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your individual needs and doubts.

Will I lose my Monmouth or Ocean County home in my divorce?

Assisting Divorce clients with questions like these out of our offices conveniently located in Brick and Sea Girt New Jersey

Will I lose my Monmouth or Ocean County home in my divorce?

One of the most common questions our Ocean County divorce clients ask of us is “Will I lose my house in the divorce?”. Sadly, there is no easy answer to this question. Homes are treated the same as other assets such as family owned businesses and real estate properties during a divorce, and in order to answer this question, you and your Ocean County divorce attorney will have to discuss several key factors.

Consider Prenuptial Agreements

The first and most important factor to consider in any divorce is whether or not a signed prenuptial agreement exists between the parties. Prenuptial agreements can cover a wide variety of divorce issues such as child custody, alimony, and marital asset division, but most commonly contain terms regarding assets such as homes, properties, and businesses.

Prenuptial agreements and their terms will supersede  divorce law regarding what you and your spouse may be entitled to when dividing marital assets. If you have a prenuptial agreement, it is critical that you disclose this information to your Spring Lake divorce attorney, so that they can thoroughly review the agreement, and assess its impact on your divorce settlement agreement.

The Title of the Home and the Duration of the Marriage

If there is no pre-existing prenuptial agreement, or your prenuptial agreement does not contain terms regarding ownership of your home, then the next factor to consider is that of the title of the home, and the duration of the marriage. If the home is titled to both you and your spouse, then the home will almost certainly be considered marital property, and as such subject to equitable distribution laws.

If the home is titled solely in your name, and importantly was purchased prior to your marriage (a home purchased during your marriage regardless of title will be considered marital property), then you must then consider the duration of your marriage. For shorter marriages, it may be possible for your Point Pleasant divorce attorney to argue that your spouse did not make contributions to the home, and as such has no claim to the home as part of your divorce settlement agreement. However, the longer your marriage, the greater the chance that your spouse has made marital contributions which would cause the home to be considered marital property.

Marital Contributions Affect Property Division in Jackson Divorce Cases

As mentioned above, marital contributions can entitle your spouse to joint-ownership of properties that were solely owned by you prior to your marriage. Marital contributions can be anything from actual money invested in the upkeep or maintenance of the home, to personal sacrifices such as leaving a job to care for the home or children. The longer the duration of your marriage, the more your spouse will have contributed to the continued possession of assets like homes, properties, and businesses, and the greater the chance becomes that he or she will be entitled to joint ownership of these assets during the division of assets process.

Retaining Ownership during Division of Assets Process

All that being said, just because your spouse may be considered the joint owner of an asset or your home, does not mean that you have to lose possession of that asset during your divorce. An experienced Sea Girt, NJ division of asset attorney will be able to negotiate on your behalf for equitable distribution, meaning that you can maintain ownership of certain assets in exchange for assets of equitable value. It is important to understand that equitable does not have to mean “equal”, merely fair, and your attorney should be able to take advantage of this law and help you negotiate a favorable settlement.

Contact A Brick and Sea Girt Marital Asset Division Attorney Today

At Bronzino Law Firm, we have extensive experience helping clients across Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Point Pleasant, Toms River, and the greater Ocean County area with family law and divorce issues of all kinds, including prenuptial agreements, division of assets, and divorce settlements.

Attorney Peter J. Bronzino believes that by keeping his clients highly informed and involved in the legal process, they can better understand their options, and help to more effectively secure the exact settlement they need in any divorce or family law matter. The smaller size of our firm allows us to develop these attentive and personal relationships with our clients, while still charging fair and reasonable rates for our services.

To speak with our office today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your unique needs and concerns for your prenuptial agreement, divorce, or division of asset agreement, please contact us online, or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.