08. Additional Practice Areas
So you're getting married—congratulations! Amid the planning, flowers, love and romance, you need to consider this: What do you want to happen if this relationship were to fail? Do you want your future to be determined by the courts or would you prefer to answer that question now, saving you and your beloved future headaches?
A prenuptial agreement (prenup) is often viewed as an underhanded trick to play on your significant other during a time when you should be celebrating your love for one another. In fact, if you're truly in love, why would you even be thinking about divorce?
There are plenty of reasons to want a prenup:
1. PROVIDES PREDETERMINED DETAILS FOR SPOUSAL SUPPORT
A prenup can be as specific as you want it to be regarding how much you’ll receive or pay in alimony after a divorce. Circumstances such as illness and infidelity can be addressed, as well as how alimony will be distributed: a lump sum, monthly payments or quarterly payments. Making these decisions now can save a lot of headaches and heartaches in the future. In addition, you can mutually waive alimony, especially if both spouses come from an equal financial footing, and they don’t anticipate that one party will sacrifice earning capacity during the marriage.
2. PROTECTS PREMARITAL ASSETS AND DEBTS
Many prenups state that assets brought into the marriage remain that person’s separate property, while any assets the couple earns during the marriage are subject to division. This approach is often considered fair, as it protects the premarital assets from alimony considerations—and can also be used to ensure that both parties are responsible for any personal debts they bring into the marriage.
3. CLEARLY DEFINES FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES
A prenup can help you clearly define what household bills each spouse will carry in the relationship if you’re not sharing all your accounts.
4. WAIVES ALIMONY RIGHTS
Although some states prohibit and limit your ability to give up your alimony rights, others allow you to waive alimony. If you’re the breadwinner and you wish to carry out this right, the prenup must clearly state that there will be no award of spousal support to your ex after divorce. If you don’t include this clause, you could be ordered to pay alimony to your ex to maintain the lifestyle he or she became accustomed to while married to you.
A prenuptial agreement, when carried out correctly, is meant to protect and support both parties equally, making an unexpected split—and life thereafter—as smooth as possible. Since the court will strive to uphold the conditions of the prenup in a typical divorce case, it’s important to be transparent and specific with your wishes and concerns when writing your agreement. As always, it’s best to work with a family law attorney to learn what’s possible and recommended in your particular scenario.
LGBTQ Family Law
When you're facing a split, you're dealing with a lot of emotions and questions. Smedley Law Group can help you navigate your decoupling, whether it's a marriage, civil union or domestic partnership. If you're also contending with alimony, equitable distribution, child custody or support, we'll advocate strongly on your behalf, so that you and your family achieve the best possible outcome.
Most of the time there's no question as to the paternity of a child. However, in certain instances, it may be necessary to seek court intervention for a declaration of paternity. If you believe you're the father of a child and the child’s mother refuses to name you on the birth certificate, an Order of Paternity is necessary to protect your rights and to enable you to have a legal right to your child. While courts aren't able to enter an Order prior to the birth of a child, it's important that you discuss your rights and options so that when the child is born, you can act swiftly, if needed. Smedley Law Group focuses on your present circumstances and will work with you to create a parenting plan that's best for you and your new family member. If you believe you're the father of a child and are being met with resistance, contact us so we can get you on the path to a fulfilling relationship with your child.
Grandparent visitation in New Jersey is a very nuanced area of law—one that's difficult to navigate without the right team by your side. Whether you are grandparents who've been cut off from your grandchildren, or your family is beset by requests for contact from parents you no longer feel should have contact with your family, Smedley Law Group has the experience you need to ensure that the relationships you want to preserve are protected. Given the nature of this area of law, finding the right representation is key. Contact us today to find out your rights when you're faced with this triggering issue.
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Our powerhouse team of attorneys have chosen to devote their entire practice to family law, ensuring you have a support system of strong litigators who’ll work on your behalf in your unique situation. We listen and talk with you to determine your goals and desired outcomes, and then work with you to achieve them through our advocacy.