Did you know you know you already have a Prenuptial Agreement?
The laws in New York create a default prenuptial agreement for all couples who are married and reside in the State. By law, any property and liabilities acquired during the marriage become marital property and are subject to equitable distribution. Additionally, upon the death of the first spouse, the surviving spouse has rights to a portion of the deceased spouse's estate. In essence, New York's laws do exactly what prenuptial agreements do, they lay out what the parties can expect in the event of a divorce or upon a spouse's passing.
Do you need a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements often have a bad reputation and are frequently misunderstood. They can be important tools to use to protect yourself and your assets going into a marriage. What's more: they offer transparency, and that's a good place to start a marriage.
At Falls View Law, we are focused on planning for your future to ensure you have a solid foundation to build upon. A prenuptial agreement does not just protect you, your assets, and your family. It also protects your marriage by providing the opportunity for you to enter into your marriage with full transparency. Contact us online or at 585-455-3804 to schedule a Consultation and learn more.
What are Prenuptial Agreements in New York?
When two people are about to head down the aisle, they sometimes enter into a prenuptial agreement first. A prenuptial agreement is a before-marriage contract that lays out the specifics of what will happen to the property they own should the marriage fail.
Prenuptial agreements in most states can be used to address many different issues, including:
- What property should be considered marital and what should be considered separate. Instead of having a judge decide this matter pursuant to the laws of your state, you can decide beforehand.
- Protections for certain property. For example, if the engagement ring is a family heirloom on the spouse's side, the parties may agree that in the event of divorce, the ring goes back to the husband.
- You may agree that should one or both spouses want a divorce, the parties are required to go through mediation or arbitration.
Prenuptial agreements in most states cannot be used to address certain issues, including:
- Custody and issues of child support are not allowed to be addressed in prenuptial agreements. The court will determine what is in the child's best interest, not the parents.
- Courts do not like provisions that address personal rather than financial issues. For example, a prenuptial agreement should not contain a provision stating where the parties will spend their Christmases.
- A prenuptial agreement should not be used to address anything that is illegal. For example, if the family earns money through the sale of illegal drugs, who gets that business in case of divorce is not allowed to be addressed.
To be sure your prenuptial agreement is enforceable, it is best to make the terms as fair as possible to both parties.
Who Should Have a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements are for parties who want to be proactive, protect themselves, their assets, and their loved ones.
We have represented clients who are young, just starting out in their careers, have massive student loans and no assets, as well as clients who have been married previously, are established in their careers, and have a large portfolio.
Wealth does not determine whether a prenuptial agreement is necessary, the ultimate determining factor is whether you want to maintain control over your future or if you would prefer the State to determine how your assets, liabilities, and estate will be distributed.
Do I need an Attorney to draft my Prenuptial Agreement?
While you may be tempted to draft your own prenuptial agreement before getting married, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney regarding how these agreements work in your state. One of the major benefits of having a prenuptial agreement is having peace of mind knowing what to expect in the event of a divorce. However, if an agreement is unclear, unconscionable, incomplete, and/or was signed without following certain formalities, a Judge may invalidate your agreement. The initial cost savings from drafting your our agreement or forgoing hiring an attorney to review your agreement before signing it, will pale in comparison to the cost you will incur as a result of your agreement being contested.
When Should a Prenuptial Agreement be done?
Discussing a prenuptial agreement with your soon-to-be spouse may be uncomfortable but the sooner you have the conversation, the better. Delaying the process will inevitably result in stress that could have been avoided. It is best to begin the process at least six months before the date of your wedding. Contact us either online or directly at 585-455-3804 to schedule a Consultation.