In New Jersey, a prenuptial agreement can help protect a person's assets if the marriage does not work out. However, individuals without a prenuptial agreement still may be able to hold onto their assets even if a marriage dissolves.
One of the key concepts for protecting certain assets is separation. Separate bank accounts, real estate holdings and other types of investments means that these are more likely stay the separate property of the original account holder. If a spouse were to become a co-owner of any of these accounts, it would become legally open to financial dispute during divorce proceedings. Any income that was earned or received prior to marriage should be kept separate. Income that was individually inherited or gifted after the marriage should also be considered separate.
Individuals planning to keep separate property should also take care of their property with separate funds. If marital funds are used for tending or keeping the property, as for mortgage payments or upkeep, it could give the court leeway to consider it as marital property in future disputes. Holding onto retirement account statements and business assessment reports can demonstrate the actual worth of both investments during divorce proceedings, keeping as much premarital money in the owner's hands as possible. Doing so near the time of marriage can help ensure accounting accuracy.
In New Jersey, anyone seeking to protect certain financial interests may find prenuptial or postnuptial agreements to be practical and proactive to have in place. However, this may not always be possible or realistic for some. Individuals that are unable to establish such agreements, yet need to protect their fiscal interests, may want to seek the advice of a family law attorney about protecting premarital assets and property.