Let’s address prenuptial agreements in New York in light of changing social views about prenups and divorce.
Prenuptial agreements were once socially limited to wealthy individuals and celebrities, but the stigma surrounding “prenups” has been changing over time. Prenuptial agreements in New York are now seen as a responsible step in the marriage process as couples prepare to combine their lives, both personally and financially.
What is a prenup? A prenuptial agreement is a contract that a couple signs before marriage that details what each person’s property rights will be if they divorce or when one spouse dies. Proper communication and preparation are important when making a prenuptial agreement in New York. Couples should go into a marriage like they would go into any business dealing; if you are starting a company you want to know everything you can about your business partners, and you should know the same things about your future spouse.
This knowledge may include knowing your future spouse’s assets and liabilities, including accrued credit card debt, old bankruptcy filings. It includes the future, too; you should talk about how to handle future investments like purchasing a home. If a partner has a business, it’s helpful to understand its revenue streams and expenses and whether or not the company’s future income will be shared after marriage.
Review options when creating a prenuptial agreement. People often think that prenuptial agreements mean one spouse gets everything in the event of divorce. But the reality is that couples can establish how to keep certain assets as private property and combine others.
A prenuptial agreement can explain which property is separate and which is marital. It also details how to divide marital property in the event of a divorce. And it can also explain how estates and inheritances are dealt with in the event of death. All in all, prenups can cover a lot of legal ground. But a prenuptial agreement has to follow specific rules in order to be considered valid. It must be done in writing and not verbally. There can be no hidden assets and the agreement cannot be signed under coercion. It is very helpful to have a prenuptial agreement made with the help of an experienced New York attorney in order to avoid mistakes or language that may give an unfair advantage to one spouse over another.
A prenuptial agreement can be deemed invalid for various reasons. This is why it’s beneficial to couples to have this agreement properly reviewed and witnessed. Reasons can include agreements signed under coercion, improperly filed paperwork, and agreements that are created to benefit one spouse over another and are deemed unconscionable by the court. This helpful 2014 article by Forbes offers information about how prenups can be made invalid.