Understanding Postnuptial Agreements in New Jersey

When we think of marriage, legal agreements might not be the first thing that springs to mind. However, in today’s complex and ever-evolving world, ensuring the security of your personal and financial future is crucial, even within the bounds of marriage. This is where postnuptial agreements come into play — a tool that, although similar to a prenuptial agreement, is established after a couple is legally married.

At Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney at Law, we understand the sensitivities and complexities involved in drafting a postnuptial agreement in New Jersey. Whether you are seeking to address changes in your financial landscape, allocate responsibilities, or simply ensure peace of mind, a well-crafted postnuptial agreement can provide a clear path forward for both partners in a marriage. 

Tanya Freeman

Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney at Law

Managing Partner of the Family Law Practice at Callagy Law

More than an accomplished divorce and family law attorney, Tanya L. Freeman, is a consummate professional with a wealth of corporate and life experience.

Known as a leader and strategist, Tanya L. Freeman was appointed by the Governor of New Jersey as Chair of the Board of Directors of the University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey.

Tanya L. Freeman also presents among the ranks of public speakers. She captivates and inspires professional groups nationwide. "Tanya has the eloquence and oratory brilliance with the ability to forge deep connections with her listeners."

What is a Postnuptial Agreement?

A postnuptial agreement, often referred to as a “postnup,” is a written agreement executed by a couple who are already married. The primary purpose of this legal document is to specify how the couple’s assets and debts will be handled in the event of a separation, divorce, or even the death of a spouse. Unlike prenuptial agreements, which are made before the marriage, postnuptial agreements are established after the couple has legally wed.

When is a Postnuptial Agreement Appropriate?

A postnuptial agreement can be a valuable tool for married couples in various situations. When significant changes occur in financial circumstances, such as a major career advancement, inheritance, or a new business venture, a postnuptial agreement can help redefine financial expectations and responsibilities. This ensures both partners are aligned with the new financial reality.

In cases where one spouse wishes to protect certain assets as separate property, especially when these assets are intended as inheritance for children from previous relationships, a postnuptial agreement provides the necessary legal clarity and protection.

For couples who have faced marital issues and are in the process of reconciliation, a postnuptial agreement can serve as a fresh start. It establishes clear agreements that may prevent future disputes, creating a foundation for a healthier relationship moving forward.

Interestingly, discussing a postnuptial agreement can also strengthen a marriage. The process requires open communication about finances and future plans, ensuring both partners are on the same page and fostering a deeper mutual understanding.

Even though it might seem counterintuitive, a postnuptial agreement can also be useful in preparing for a potential divorce. By resolving many financial issues in advance, it can streamline the divorce process should it occur, reducing stress and conflict.

Overall, postnuptial agreements offer married couples a strategic means to manage their financial lives together, promoting transparency and mutual understanding. For couples in New Jersey, understanding the specifics of these agreements and considering them at the right time can prevent future legal conflicts and contribute to a healthier, more secure marital relationship.


I was very fortunate to find Tanya online during an urgent family matter. I was able to speak with her on our situation and she immediately jumped on the case the same day. I was impressed at her knowledge and her team as they were able to answer questions on the spot and navigate through an unpleasant situation. Her honesty and responsiveness have made this process much easier, and the support she has provided has truly gone above my expectation of a family law firm. This is truly an exceptional firm & I would highly recommend.”

- Lydia Martinez


My father recently hired Tanya Freeman; Family Law Attorney and her team as a replacement to handle his divorce which has been going nowhere for over 3 years with a different attorney. Tanya and her team have done so much within just a few months for his trial and has given my father a new sense of hope. The team is always quick to respond to any questions. The case is still ongoing, however, my father has newly restored confidence that he will be treated fairly and with his best interest in mind. We definitely recommend Tanya Freeman; Family Law Attorney."

- Molly Howard


Tanya is an outstanding attorney! Her attentiveness to detail and willingness to be honest with her clients means you’re going to get the best possible outcome for your case. She and her team went above and beyond, making sure my divorce and custody case ended neatly and in the best interest of my children. Her pricing is reasonable and she’s willing to work with you. I highly recommend Tanya Freeman to anyone going through a divorce or family law case!"

- Jenifer Mckinney

Postnuptial Agreements: Key Elements and Their Importance

Postnuptial agreements, while similar in nature to prenuptial agreements, are executed after a couple has married and can play a crucial role in managing the financial aspects of a marriage. Understanding what is generally included in a postnuptial agreement and why these elements are significant can help couples make informed decisions that secure their future together.

Common Subjects of Postnuptial Agreements

Asset and Property Division

The asset and property division section of an agreement outlines the distribution of both spouses’ assets and properties in the event of separation, divorce, or death. This section typically includes assets acquired before and during the marriage. The importance of this division cannot be overstated, as it helps prevent disputes over property during a divorce or separation. It ensures that each party retains control over their respective contributions and safeguards any significant assets they brought into the marriage.

Debt Liability

A postnuptial agreement plays a crucial role in addressing debt liability within a marriage. It clearly outlines which spouse will be responsible for existing debts as well as any debts incurred in the future. This clarity is vital to protect one spouse from being burdened by the other’s financial obligations, particularly if one partner is more prone to accruing debt or enters the marriage with significant financial obligations.

Alimony and Spousal Support

Alimony and spousal support refer to the financial assistance that one spouse may provide to the other during or after a separation or divorce. This agreement specifies the amount and duration of the support, ensuring clarity and fairness in financial matters. Addressing spousal support ahead of time is crucial, as it eliminates uncertainty and potential conflicts. By establishing a predefined plan, both parties can manage their financial futures more independently and confidently.

Retirement Benefits

Retirement benefits encompass essential details on how assets such as pensions and 401(k) plans will be managed. Addressing these benefits is crucial to prevent future legal disputes and to help both parties maintain their planned standard of living upon retirement. Ensuring that each spouse’s retirement funds are clearly defined in the agreement provides security and clarity for their financial future.

Inheritance and Estate Plans

Inheritance and estate plans include provisions for managing spouses’ estates upon the death of one spouse, which impacts how property is passed on to children or other relatives. This is particularly important in blended families, as these clauses ensure that children from previous relationships are provided for as intended, preventing disputes from the surviving spouse.

Why a Postnuptial Agreement is Appropriate for These Subjects

Postnuptial agreements provide a structured, clear framework for handling significant issues within a marriage, which can otherwise be sources of tension and conflict. By addressing these matters proactively, couples can:

– Ensure fair and equitable distribution of assets and liabilities.

– Protect individual interests and investments.

– Reduce the potential for costly and extended legal disputes in the event of a divorce.

– Promote transparency and trust in the relationship, by openly discussing and planning for future contingencies.

10 Best Tanya Freeman
10 Best Tanya Freeman

Challenging a Postnuptial Agreement in New Jersey: Grounds and Process

Whether due to changes in circumstances or initial terms that now seem unfair or were improperly established, it’s important to know the grounds on which a postnuptial agreement can be contested and the process involved.

Why People May Contest a Postnuptial Agreement

People may contest a postnuptial agreement for various reasons. A significant change in the financial circumstances or health of one party can make the terms of the agreement substantially unfair or impractical. Additionally, one spouse might claim that the agreement was signed under coercion or duress, which undermines the voluntariness of their consent. If one spouse failed to disclose all relevant financial information or lied about certain details, this fraud or misrepresentation can compromise the integrity of the agreement. Lastly, an agreement might be deemed unconscionable if it heavily favors one party over the other in an unjust or extremely one-sided manner.

Legal Grounds for Challenging a Postnuptial Agreement

In New Jersey, several legal grounds can challenge the validity of a postnuptial agreement. Firstly, the agreement must be entered into voluntarily by both parties. If there is evidence that one spouse was coerced into signing, the agreement can be invalidated. Secondly, there must be full and fair disclosure of all assets and liabilities at the time of signing. If one spouse hid assets or debts, this failure to disclose can be grounds for a challenge.

Another important aspect is the need for independent legal representation. Each spouse should have their own attorney review the agreement to ensure their interests are fully protected. If one spouse did not have independent legal advice, the agreement could be contested. Additionally, if the terms of the agreement are excessively unfair, or if one spouse is left destitute while the other remains financially stable, the court may find the agreement unconscionable and invalidate it.

Any terms that violate New Jersey’s public policies or laws, such as provisions regarding child support or custody, can invalidate the entire agreement or the specific problematic clauses.

Process for Contesting a Postnuptial Agreement

Legal Representation

Engaging an experienced family law attorney is crucial. They can provide guidance on the viability of the challenge based on the specifics of your agreement and situation.

Filing a Motion

The process typically begins by filing a motion in the family court where the issues will be reviewed. This motion should articulate the grounds for the challenge.


During this phase, both parties can gather evidence supporting their claims, including financial records and communications related to the drafting and signing of the postnuptial agreement.

Court Hearing

A judge will hear arguments from both sides and review the evidence presented. The judge will then decide whether the postnuptial agreement should be upheld or invalidated.


If the court’s decision is unfavorable, and you believe that errors were made in the legal reasoning or interpretation, an appeal can be filed to a higher court.

Related Videos

Your Family Law Team

Understanding and navigating postnuptial agreements can be a complex process, especially in the context of a divorce or dissolution of marriage. Whether you’re considering drafting a postnuptial agreement, or you’re facing the challenges of enforcing or contesting one, having knowledgeable legal guidance is essential. 

Contact Tanya L. Freeman, Attorney at Law, today to schedule a consultation. Let us help you navigate your legal journey with the experience and empathy you deserve, ensuring the best possible outcome for your future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *