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Couples intending to marry do not expect their marriage to end up in divorce, but it happens. This is why many New York couples have a prenuptial agreement in place prior to marriage. It is a legal document created so each spouse is protected should their marriage end. A prenuptial agreement can make the reality of divorce a much easier process.

Prenuptial Agreement
It is a legal contract between two people who have decided to become a married couple. This agreement will detail how certain issues will be handled should the marriage end. It could include division of property, support after a divorce, asset distribution and more. A prenuptial agreement is required to be in writing and signed by both future spouses in front of a notary public. If this type of agreement is made orally or written but unsigned, it won’t be considered valid.

Fair Agreement
The state of New York mandates that all prenuptial agreements be fair. Should a prenuptial agreement significantly favor one spouse over the other, a court could rule it is invalid. Situations can occur during a marriage that would make a prenuptial agreement fair at the signing but unfair during the marriage. This could be a spouse becoming disabled and more. In these situations, a court could choose to disregard the prenuptial agreement during divorce proceedings.

Full Disclosure
Each spouse must make a full and complete financial disclosure prior to the signing a prenuptial agreement. Should this not be done, a divorce court could rule the agreement is invalid. One spouse disclosing their substantial assets could enable the other spouse to decide if they want to have a prenuptial agreement. If this is not done, a spouse won’t be in a position to make an informed decision concerning the agreement. Knowing how much they will receive in a divorce could be a factor in a spouse moving forward with a marriage.

There are certain things not permitted to be put in a prenuptial agreement. It is unable to determine child support, child custody as well as other types of parental responsibilities. This is something that must be done during divorce proceedings. Should these issues be addressed in a prenuptial agreement, a court will ignore them. It is possible a court could invalidate the entire agreement.

Prenuptial Agreement Issues
This can cover things including the right of each spouse to property, distribution of debts and assets in the event of a divorce or death. The right of each spouse to manage a family business as well as transfer, sell or control identified real estate properties. It can also list amounts and duration of alimony. A prenuptial agreement may list how to handle other issues during the dissolution of a marriage as permitted by law.

Circumstances For A Prenuptial Agreement
These agreements can be designed to meet the specific needs of people intending to marry. The wealthy are not the only ones who should have a prenuptial agreement. It is possible a single parent getting married may want to protect the inheritance or savings and other assets of their children. A prenuptial agreement would provide this protection. Wealthy individuals want them to protect their assets should the couple divorce. One spouse may want to maintain control over a family home or business and make certain it is separate from marital assets. Without a prenuptial agreement, it is possible a couple’s assets would be divided based on state law.

Contract Rules
Prenuptial agreement in New York must follow basic contract rules. It will be in effect until after a couple marries. Should a prenuptial agreement be signed into prior to a religious ceremony designated to be a marriage, it will be considered valid. This will happen even if the marriage is determined to not be legally binding.

There are certain circumstances where a prenuptial agreement can be proven invalid. This includes a spouse being under duress when signing it. The agreement not being signed until after a couple is legally married. One spouse was not of legal age to enter into a contract or was not mentally competent. One spouse committed a fraud in the agreement or the agreement is considered extremely unfair. The agreement was not in writing and more.

New York laws covering the creation of a prenuptial agreement are complicated. Each agreement can have a variety of rights and responsibilities for each spouse. It is important each spouse understand the agreement before signing it. Having an experienced New York attorney review a prenuptial agreement or create one is essential. It is the best way to make certain a prenuptial agreement meets the needs of a couple’s individual situation.

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