Do I Need a Pre-Nup?

The beginning of a marriage is an exciting time. The couple will start building their future together, typically combining resources and making future financial and life decisions together. Of course, during this happy and hopeful time, no one likes to think about what will happen if the relationship does not work out. Although a pre-nuptial agreement can be an excellent way to protect yourself in the future, it can sometimes be a bit awkward trying to work out the details of an agreement that will only come into play if the marriage falls apart. Nevertheless, it is important to examine whether you need a pre-nuptial agreement. It is a common myth that only people with large assets require a pre-nuptial agreement. These documents are important tools to help protect your assets and potentially shield you from having to take on your spouse’s debt.

A pre-nuptial agreement can be an exceedingly useful tool to help pre-arrange the division of assets and debts in a marriage. If you have a substantial amount of assets from before the marriage, or any assets at all that you wish to protect, a pre-nuptial agreement can specifically identify what property is separate property, which would protect that property from being divided in the divorce. A pre-nuptial agreement can also set out how a particular asset will be divided. This can be especially useful if you have a family business. The pre-nuptial agreement can state how much of the business the non-owning spouse will receive in the event of a divorce. This can help preserve the integrity of the family business and may be able to keep you from having to sell the business to give your spouse half of it as his or her share of the equity. Spousal support can also be determined in a pre-nuptial agreement. If you make substantially more than your spouse, a pre-nuptial agreement can delineate the amount, length, and conditions under which the other spouse will receive spousal support.

One thing that a pre-nup cannot do is pre-arrange custody or visitation issues. Child-related decisions are always made based on the best interest of the child. It is against public policy to allow parents to contract what is in a child’s best interest when this may be done years before a child is even born. The issue of best interest must be determined at the time when the divorce occurs, not far in advance.

Whether you need a pre-nuptial agreement is a question you can only answer after talkig with an experienced attorney at (732) 529-6937 for an appointment to talk about your future and how we can help protect you.

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

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