While you may be familiar with prenuptial agreements, you may be less acquainted with the prenuptial agreement’s lesser known relative—the postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement in NJ or NY is a nuanced document in the best of scenarios, but when entered into mindfully and with good intention, it can often be an effective problem-solving tool.
While a prenuptial agreement is executed before the nuptial (wedding), a postnuptial agreement takes place after your wedding. This does not mean it takes place after the marriage is over, but rather any time after the ceremony itself.
Essentially, a postnuptial is an agreement entered into during marriage which outlines how assets will be distributed and financial issues will be handled in the event the marriage ends. When couples enter into a postnuptial agreement in NJ, it is usually because financial situations have changed (e.g. one party inherits a large sum of money).
However, these agreements can do more than just secure assets.
Postnuptial Agreements In NJ Can Serve As Interim Agreements Before More Definitive Legal Action Is Taken
What is the real value of these agreements? A postnuptial agreement in NJ can be very difficult to enforce (the same goes for a postnuptial agreement in NY). So what good does this agreement do a couple?
For couples entering litigation, a postnuptial agreement in NJ or NY may be of limited value.
However, for couples entering mediation, the postnuptial holds many possibilities. A postnuptial agreement in NJ can put into writing a change of circumstances in the home, such as one party moving out and seeing the children according to a new parenting schedule. The postnuptial can solidify the new arrangement and serve as a guide to both parties. Because both parties agree to the new structure, it can protect the rights of one or both parties, rights they may have otherwise compromised had they simply left the home without agreement. As New Jersey does not have a legal separation, a postnuptial agreement can set forth the terms to be followed during an ongoing period of separation.
Postnuptial Agreements in NJ Establish a New Status Quo
During litigation, the actual circumstances of the marriage are weighed—the behaviors in the marriage itself forms the dominant contract. The court pays close attention to the status quo at the time the divorce proceedings begin. If one party has moved out of the home in an effort to reduce tension, but the divorce does not begin until months later, the parties may have established a new norm. They may have unintentionally given up certain rights concerning child custody, finances, and so on. However, postnuptial agreements in NJ can prevent the forfeiture of rights while parties change living or financial circumstances as a part of mediation. A postnuptial agreement in NJ can preserve rights for parties while they take time to determine next steps.
Postnuptials also serve another extraordinarily important function:
A Postnuptial Agreement in NJ Can Provide Peace of Mind
Mediation puts your destiny in your hands. Instead of being at the mercy of the court’s rulings, mediation allows a meeting of the minds of the parties. Participants arrive at common solutions together. When confidence has really been tested in a marriage, a written contract delineating your rights can play an extraordinary role in restoring peace of mind.
A postnuptial (or interim) agreement in NJ can keep parties from inadvertently giving up their rights when the home situation needs to change, and it can be a potent tool during the mediation process to give parties the ability to change the home situation for the better.
Most importantly, both parties should have an agreement and an understanding so they don’t unconsciously enter into an agreement by default. An interim agreement allows you to protect your rights and mindfully determine your goals so that you can move forward peacefully.
Postnuptial Agreements Can Help Stabilize Families
Another significant benefit of a postnuptial agreement in NJ is that they can help stabilize the home situation. Divorce can be very unsettling, both to the parties involved and to the children affected. But because a postnuptial agreement in NJ can delineate a precise schedule and appropriately establish expectations of parenting responsibilities and time, it can help both the parents and children transition to a new norm smoothly.
If parties are going through litigation in the traditional divorce, they might have to go to court and get a temporary agreement (pendente lite relief usually via a consent order). This order may be in force for a long period of time (divorce proceedings tend to be lengthy). Such an agreement provides, among other things, for support both for children and a financially dependent spouse while litigation is pending.
But getting this or any agreement through the court system can be a cumbersome process. Rather than making a motion or petition (and spending time in court and money on lawyers and court fees), a postnuptial agreement in NJ, drafted through mediation, can bypass this process while allowing both parties to designate their resources to effectively negotiate the agreement together.
A postnuptial agreement in NJ can be especially helpful if there are urgent needs requiring consideration. It can establish interim solutions that can be further reviewed in the future when more factors are in place, and it can do so without prejudice.
A postnuptial agreement can engender a calmer familial environment and afford much needed breathing room.
A Postnuptial Agreement In NJ Created Through Mediation Can Result in Fairer and More Equitable Outcomes
In the court system, parties usually confront one another as adversaries. Proceedings can escalate rather than soothe conflict, and it is not uncommon for one (or both) parties to feel violated and beaten down before the process is complete.
Courts have neither the time nor personnel to devote to helping litigants craft detailed, exhaustive agreements sensitive to their specific circumstances. Mediation does just this, and does so in a manner conducive to restoring control, dignity and well-being of both parties.
A postnuptial agreement in NJ, or a postnuptial agreement in NY, crafted through the mediation process, usually results in a agreements that are fairer and more equitable, and parties who feel more intact emotionally and financially.
This is why mediation is almost invariably a superior alternative to litigation. It deals in intricacies and equity, helping both spouses address their needs and move forward.