You are thinking about getting married. Part of being in love is to think about the future. Many couples decide to protect their marriage with a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into prior to marriage. The contract defines how property and money will be distributed if the marriage ends.
It also designates how property and money is distributed if one spouse dies during the marriage.
According to New York divorce law, it determines how property will be divided if there is a divorce. However, divorce courts defer to the valid prenuptial agreement.
What is a Valid Prenuptial Agreement?
In New York, a valid prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into before the marriage ceremony. The couple have separate lawyers. They are required to disclose all the money and property they own. The agreement must be signed in advance of the ceremony. Neither of the spouse can pressure the other to give up certain property or sign the agreement.
An invalid prenuptial agreement is one that cannot be enforced because:
• The couple had one attorney representing them in the prenuptial negotiations
• Fraud occurred. Fraud occurs when an individual does not completely disclose all their assets to their significant other.
• The agreement is unfair and inequitable. The agreement must be fair to both parties. It cannot be created to give one spouse more than the other if they divorce. An example of an unfair prenuptial agreement is one spouse gets nothing if they divorce.
• Duress or Coercion cannot occur. An individual cannot be forced or convinced to sign the agreement. It will not be enforced.
Creating a Valid Prenuptial Agreement in New York
A prenuptial agreement generally resolves issues that would arise during a divorce like which property is separate from marital property. Each spouse can determine which assets they will keep and which will be considered marital property.
Another issue that comes up a lot is pre-marriage debt. One individual may have debt coming into the marriage. Their significant other can write in the agreement that the pre-marriage debt stays with the other person if they divorce.
A prenuptial agreement can be used to resolve the issue of alimony, child custody and child support. The couple could agree to a set amount of alimony depending on the number of years marriage or amount of money one person makes. They can also make arrangements on if they will have joint custody of any children born into the marriage. If there is no joint custody, the couple can agree on visitation and child support payments.
If one person has children from a prior relationship, the prenuptial agreement will outline if the stepparent will or will not provide child support if there’s a divorce.
Contact Spodek Law Group about Your New York Prenuptial Agreement
Many people are under the misconception that if you are truly in love you do not need a prenuptial agreement. That is wrong. The best way to prove that you believe your love will last is by protecting each other with a prenuptial agreement.
A prenuptial agreement is an honest and straightforward legal document that takes care of all issues in case of a divorce or death of a spouse. You should not enter into marriage hoping that your marriage lasts. Protect you and your spouse’s property and assets with a prenuptial agreement. Contact us.