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New Jersey Postnuptial Agreement

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New Jersey Postnuptial Agreement

Updated January 23, 2023

A New Jersey postnuptial agreement is a contract between spouses that determines rights and responsibilities regarding certain property. Because it is signed after the couple marries, a postnuptial agreement differs from a prenuptial agreement (“prenup”), which is signed before a couple marries. However, both types of agreements provide more predictability than what is available through the traditional divorce process.

New Jersey recognizes two kinds of postnuptial agreements: mid-marriage agreements, for couples who are not planning to get divorced or who are using the document to reconcile, and property settlement agreements, used by couples for whom divorce is imminent.

Signing Requirements (Pacelli v. Pacelli (1999)) – Both spouses must sign the agreement.


Mid-marriage agreements: Mid-marriage agreements are generally unenforceable because they are inherently coercive and carefully reviewed because they are pregnant with the opportunity for one party to use the threat of dissolution to bargain themselves into positions of advantage. Steele v. Steele (2021).

Unconscionability: Any mid-marriage agreement may be set aside if it is found unconscionable or the product of fraud or overreaching, mainly where it exploits the confidential relationship between spouses. Steele v. Steele (2021).

Property Settlement Agreement: Property settlement agreements are generally enforceable so long as they are fair and equitable, assuming the parties stand in adversarial positions and negotiate in their self-interest. Steele v. Steele (2021).