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In New York, certain divorce issues are governed by statutory laws. Absent a valid prenuptial agreement, a court will apply those statutes and case law. Persons who are getting married may enter into a prenuptial agreement to set forth how various issues are to be handled in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement must satisfy certain requirements to be considered valid. In the event the prenuptial agreement does not meet the requirements or there are other issues, it may be challenged. Persons who wish to prepare or enforce a prenuptial agreement should contact Queens prenuptial lawyers for legal advice.

What can be included in a New York prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement can address a variety of issues that may arise during a marriage and in a divorce. Some examples of things that can be included are as follows:

  • Defining the nature of property: the parties may specify that certain property will be treated as that party’s separate property in the event of a divorce. This means that the other spouse will have no claim to that property or its value if the parties divorce. Even with a prenuptial agreement, property issues may still arise if the spouses commingle separate property or transfer ownership jointly into both spouses’ names. The parties to a prenuptial agreement will want to specify the property in the agreement so as to avoid any confusion as to which property is subject to the agreement.
  • Determining support: the parties may agree to how spousal maintenance or alimony is to be paid. The parties may also specify that no spousal maintenance will be paid in the event of a divorce. Because child support is governed by New York law, child support cannot be negotiated legally as a term of a prenuptial agreement.
  • Allocation of debts: the parties may specify that each party will be liable for certain debts accrued prior to the marriage and that the other party will not be obligated for that debt.

What are some of the requirements for a prenuptial agreement?
In order for a prenuptial agreement to be considered a valid and binding contract, it must comply with certain legal requirements. The prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. The agreement must also be entered into in contemplation of marriage. The agreement must also be entered into voluntarily by both parties. Finally, the agreement must not have any provisions that are contrary to the law, such as the termination of child support or determination of child custody issues.

If a prenuptial agreement has been entered, can it be challenged?
There may be certain defenses available to challenge the validity of a prenuptial agreement or certain provisions within the agreement. Some examples of defenses may include:

  • The agreement was entered into in voluntarily, under duress, coercion or undue influence
  • The parties did not have independent legal counsel with regard to the agreement and it was drafted by an attorney who wrongfully represented both parties in the same transaction
  • A party committed fraud in the course of entering the prenuptial agreement. For example, one of the spouses did not fully disclose their assets or debts or made a material misrepresentation to influence the agreement
  • The terms of the agreement are unfair or inequitable. If the production agreement unfairly favors one party over the other to a significant degree, than a court may consider it to be inequitable and may not enforce certain aspects of the agreement
  • The agreement contains illegal provisions. In the event the agreement addresses matters that cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement, then the court may not to enforce those provisions
  • The agreement does not comply with the legal requirements for a prenuptial agreement

Why is it important to work with a prenuptial agreement lawyer?
By consulting with a prenuptial agreement lawyer prior to the entry of an agreement, you will better ensure that your rights are protected and that the agreement complies with the legal requirements. To avoid a conflict of interest, each party to the agreement should have separate legal counsel with whom they consult individually. Bronx prenuptial lawyers can help draft prenuptial agreements or review agreements to better ensure that the agreement is fair and adequately addresses the issues that may be present in your situation.

If you need assistance with a prenuptial agreement, either drafting an agreement or enforcing the same, contact Bronx prenuptial attorneys to schedule an appointment.

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