Is prenuptial agreement reform coming to New Jersey? It appears to be the case.
Prenuptial Agreements are meant to fix parties rights and responsibilities in advance, so as to avoid litigation and aggravation in the future. In fact, right up front in many if not most prenuptial agreements there is a "Statement of Intention" as follows:
It is the intention of the parties in entering into this Agreement that in the event of the termination of the marriage by divorce or death, certain rights shall be fixed in advance. It is their intention to avoid litigation and intrusion into their professional and personal lives and the lives of their families and business associates, which would perhaps otherwise occur if this Agreement had not been entered into.
Unfortunately, unlike in many other states, where prenuptial agreements are ironclad as long as there was full disclosure and the other procedural requirements are met, that has not been the case in New Jersey. The major reason for this is that in New Jersey, aside from setting aside a prenup due to failure to follow the procedural requirements, including full disclosure, agreements can be set aside if they are deemed to be unconscionable, not only when they are entered into, but when they are to be enforced at the time of the divorce. As a result, I have heard judges say that they have never enforced a prenuptial agreement. I have heard other judges give the rationale that because you don’t know what is going to happen in the future, it is unfair to enforce the agreement against a spouse where she/he waives alimony or the equitable distribution rights. That rationale misses the point as that is the entire reason for a prenuptial agreement.