Are prenuptial agreements entered into before the enactment in 1988 of the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act in New Jersey in New Jersey analyzed for enforceability under the standards set forth in the Act? The simple answer is no, since the standard for determining the enforceability was established by earlier cases addresses addressing the issue.
There is a three (3) prong test to determine the enforceability of these pre-Act agreements. To be enforceable: (1) there must be “full disclosure by each party as to his or her financial conditions;” (2) the party sought to be bound by the agreement understood and accepted the terms of the agreement; and (3) the agreement is fair and not unconscionable – it will not "leave a spouse a public charge or close to it, or . . . provide a standard of living far below that which was enjoyed both before and during the marriage."
The party seeking to enforce the prenuptial agreement bears the burden of proving that there was full financial disclosure to the other party, the simplest way of which is to point to schedules attached to the agreement setting out – at least in general terms and with approximate values – the assets of the parties as well as their income over the past few years prior to the marriage. Simply put, a lack of full and complete financial disclosure in the agreement by one party prevents the other party from truly "accepting" its terms. The underlying rationale is that, with full and complete disclosure, the other party might have found the agreement unfair or might not have even gotten married.
Continue Reading PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS PRE-DATING THE UNIFORM PREMARITAL AGREEMENT ACT – A DIFFERENT STANDARD FOR ENFORCEMENT