by Donald Schumacher 

A wedding day is often characterized as, “the happiest day in anyone's life.”  Of course, the days leading up to that same day have also been characterized to be the most stressful. Some of the most difficult stressors can include the flowers not arriving on time, the catering van breaking down, or, most recently, a viral pandemic.

No one can plan for all contingencies when it comes to a wedding day.  However, there is a contingency that some may want to consider not waiting until the last minute to address. This contingency may be the ending of a marriage.  When planning your marriage, it seems nearly impossible to think about it coming to an end.  It’s nearly impossible to envision the potential difficulties that divorce may cause.   

Divorces can be very expensive and painful.  However, if couples can take a step back beforehand and look to a possibility that the marriage might end prematurely, imaginative people can engage with experienced counsel to build a framework within a prenuptial agreement that can help resolve financial disputes in the event of a divorce in the future. 

If the partners are both professionals earning comparable incomes and they do not anticipate that will change, perhaps a mutual waiver of alimony can be included in a prenuptial agreement.  If one spouse has premarital assets or a family business or a patent that is about to blow up, these kinds of things can all be protected with a prenuptial agreement, thereby reducing the issues that may be fought over in a divorce and limiting the financial and emotional expenses that may arise.

No one can predict the future, but a prenuptial agreement can prepare you for it.  In New Jersey, it can also be amended in circumstances when unforeseen events occur, and enforcement of the prenuptial agreement may not seem appropriate any further. 

Marrying couples should consider whether a prenuptial agreement may be a good idea to serve as a contingency for their future and the expense that could be incurred without one.  Enjoy the engagement, but do not wait until the last minute to speak with a family lawyer to see whether they would recommend a prenuptial agreement to be right for you.  Even if it is never looked at again and you may live happily ever after, a prenuptial agreement just might be a smart investment for the future.