A pre-nuptial agreement, or “pre-nup,” is a legal contract signed by a couple before marriage establishing their financial and property rights in the event of a divorce. While no newlyweds want to contemplate the marriage failing, the simple truth is that many end in divorce. Despite what some may say, agreeing to a prenuptial agreement isn’t admitting to any uncertainties about your love or a sign of relationship weakness. Nobody can predict the future – prenuptial agreements are a common sense reflection of that.
The Benefit of Having a Prenuptial Agreement
There are numerous benefits to having a prenuptial agreement. A prenup can determine how property is divided and define precisely what is considered “marital” and “separate” property. It can establish or waive maintenance (sometimes called alimony or spousal support). It can even establish rules about how money is spent and saved during the marriage, or how assets are divided if a spouse dies. The overarching benefit of a prenuptial agreement, as opposed to relying on the rigid rules of New York divorce law, is that the couple is in full control of how things will turn out. There is a great advantage to determining these outcomes now, when the couple is coming together, as opposed to when the couple is splitting up.
If one party has substantial debt, it may make sense for the prenuptial agreement to isolate that debt and its interest as individual and separate property. Conversely, if a party brings significant wealth into a marriage, a prenup may declare that wealth and assets coming into the marriage (and sometimes their proceeds) to be separate property. In some cases, couples will decide to have independent incomes or have certain business income excluded from the definition of marital property.
Prenuptial Agreements are Enforceable in New York
The general rule is that prenuptial agreements are enforceable as written in New York. However, a prenup may not be enforceable if it is grossly unfair, fraudulent, or was signed by one of the parties under duress. To ensure that a prenuptial agreement is valid, it should be reviewed by independent counsel. As a best practice, each party should have their own attorney review the document and it should be signed well in advance of the wedding to avoid any perception that one party was deceived or forced into signing it.
Contact NY Prenuptial Agreements Lawyers Gemelli & Gross, PC
If you would like more information about this issue or would like to have a prenuptial agreement drafted or reviewed, contact Gemelli & Gross, PC at 718-261-2323 today.