Money, Major Factor in Many NJ Divorces

May 21, 2014
May 21, 2014
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It is not unusual for married couples to have disagreements. Some arguments erupt over trivial issues, and some are the result of major concerns. Those couples who argue about money may be doing more harm to their marriages than they know. Fights about money can lead to divorce. However, people can help minimize fights about money during a divorce with a prenuptial agreement.

Money Arguments Contribute to Divorces

Disagreements about money are the most common reason people argue, according to a study conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Twenty-seven percent of married and cohabitating couples responding to the survey reported that financial issues were most likely to lead to fights, beating out other issues such as children, work, household chores or friends.

Studies show that arguments about money contribute to divorce. A 2011 Utah State University study showed that married couples who fought over money once a week or more were twice as likely to divorce as those couples who argued once a month or less.

Prenuptial Agreements Can Help

Prenuptial agreements can offer protections for spouses in the event of divorce. People know with certainty what the financial arrangements will be after divorce when they sign prenuptial agreements, including whether and how much alimony spouses will pay or receive and who gets which assets. People may wish to specify ownership of particular family heirlooms in prenuptial agreements.

People can delineate what is premarital property and what is marital property in prenuptial agreements, so there are no disagreements later. People may also assign responsibility for premarital debt to the spouse who brought it into the marriage so the other spouse need not worry about being liable for debts he or she never incurred after the divorce.

Valid Prenuptial Agreements

New Jersey law states the requirements for a valid prenuptial agreement. Valid prenuptial agreements will meet a three-pronged test:

  • The parties entered the agreement voluntarily
  • The parties each had an opportunity to review the agreement with legal counsel they chose
  • The parties fully disclosed all assets, liabilities and income to one another when reaching the agreement

Prenuptial agreements also must be in writing and signed by both parties to be valid. The court will not enforce agreements that are unconscionable, such as those that leave one spouse with no assets or means of support. Prenuptial agreements may not limit or waive child support, either.

Seek Legal Advice

Financial matters can cause stress between spouses. One way to address financial issues is with a prenuptial agreement. If you have questions about prenuptial agreements, talk to an experienced family law attorney who can address your concerns.

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