Prenuptial Agreements: should one be part of your wedding planning?

With wedding season right around the corner, it is important to consider one aspect of wedding planning that many couples overlook or find distasteful: a prenuptial agreement. As couples are marrying later in life or embarking upon a second marriage, it is reasonable to expect that assets and debts have come into being. A prenuptial agreement can address how those premarital assets and liabilities will be addressed if the marriage breaks down.

Understanding Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement, commonly referred to as a “prenup,” is a legal contract entered into by a couple before they marry. This document outlines how assets and debts will be handled in the event of a divorce, separation, or death. While discussing a prenup may not be the most romantic aspect of wedding planning, it’s a practical step that can provide clarity and protection for both parties.

What is a Prenup?

At its core, a prenup establishes the property and financial rights of each spouse in the unfortunate event that the marriage ends. Preparing a prenuptial agreement is analogous to preparing a will and related estate planning documents.

Who Needs a Prenup?

Contrary to popular belief, prenups aren’t just for the wealthy. Prenups can be helpful for small/family business owners and anyone looking to add a degree of clarity and certainty in the unfortunate event of a divorce. This includes individuals with significant debts, those who own a business, and those who want to safeguard inheritances or personal assets.

What Does a Prenup Cover?

A prenup can cover a variety of issues, including:

  • Asset Distribution: How property and assets will be divided.
  • Debt Allocation: How debts will be handled and who will be responsible for them.
  • Spousal Support: If alimony will be paid, and if so, the terms of those payments.
  • Business Protection: How a business owned by one spouse will be treated.

However, there are limitations. In New Jersey, a prenup cannot address issues of custody, parenting time, or child support.

How to Get a Prenup

Obtaining a prenup typically involves the following steps:

  1. Discussion: Both parties should openly discuss their financial situations and expectations.
  2. Legal Representation: Each party should have their own attorney to ensure their interests are represented.
  3. Drafting: The prenup should be drafted, outlining all agreed-upon terms.
  4. Review and Sign: Both parties should review the document carefully before signing.


While the thought of a prenup may bring discomfort, it’s a strategic move that can prevent future stress and conflict. By setting clear expectations and protections, a prenup can actually strengthen the foundation of a marriage, ensuring that both parties enter the union with a mutual understanding of their financial partnership.

I hope this article provides a clear overview of prenuptial agreements and their importance. If you’re considering a prenup, it’s advisable to consult with a legal professional to understand the specific laws and requirements in your state.

About Sandy Durst

Sandy Durst, Esq., is the founding partner of The Durst Firm where he heads the Family Law Department. Individuals facing a divorce benefit from the combination of legal skill, common sense and compassion that Sandy brings to each and every matter. Each case is given the personalized attention it deserves.
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