Prenuptial Agreements in New York

by ECL Writer
Prenuptial Agreements in New York

Prenuptial agreements, or “prenups,” are sometimes included in wedding planning but aren’t always. Premarital agreements are used by many happy couples. A prenuptial agreement can define rights and duties throughout marriage and prevent financial conflicts from becoming a prescription for divorce. Prenuptial agreements are subject to different laws in each state. Because premarital agreements can have long-term consequences, couples should be aware of them before signing. An overview of prenuptial agreements in New York is given in this article. If you still have questions after reading this material, please get guidance from a nearby family law professional.

What Is A Prenuptial Agreement?

An agreement between two future spouses known as a “prenuptial agreement” or “antenuptial agreement” resolves questions around property allocation and maintenance in the case of a death or divorce. Prenuptial agreements in New York are made prior to marriage and come into force the moment the couple gets hitched. Prenuptial agreements must be in written and signed in front of a notary public by both prospective spouses. An oral prenuptial agreement or one that is not signed will not be recognized by the court.

Who Should Get A Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenuptial agreements can be modified to meet a couple’s particular needs. Not just wealthy celebs require prenuptial agreements. A single parent who intends to get married again, for instance, might seek a premarital agreement to safeguard their child’s inheritance or personal funds. Furthermore, a wealthy person could want to draft an agreement to protect their wealth or for tax reasons. Despite the situation, a prenuptial agreement can safeguard a person’s assets and make property settlement in divorce less complicated.

A spouse can occasionally prefer to maintain the separation of the family home or specific premarital business assets. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, the court divides property in accordance with state law in the event of either spouse’s passing or divorce. A prenuptial agreement enables couples to maintain control over their property and decide how to distribute their assets and debts in accordance with their individual needs.

What Does A New York Prenuptial Agreement Cover?

Prenuptial agreements typically resolve issues that would otherwise be decided by a judge at a divorce trial. Most agreements will address one or more of the following subjects:

  • each spouse’s right to property (whether owned individually or as a couple)
  • the distribution of assets and debts during marriage, or in the event of death or divorce
  • each spouse’s right to buy, lease, sell, transfer, or otherwise control property
  • each spouse’s rights in and management of a family business
  • each spouse’s right to alimony, including the amount and duration of an alimony award
  • each spouse’s entitlement to death benefits from the other’s life insurance policy
  • the state law which governs the agreement, and
  • any other issue the couple wants to address.

Prenuptial agreements in New York can be made with a lot of flexibility by couples. But there are some topics that a prenup cannot address. In particular, an agreement cannot forbid a spouse from reporting domestic violence to law enforcement or force a spouse to commit a crime. Premarital agreements are permitted in New York, unlike many other states, to cover some child-related matters.

Can A Prenuptial Agreement Resolve Child Custody And Child Support In New York?

In New York, antenuptial agreements cannot conclusively address concerns relating to the upbringing, maintenance, and care of children. The judge will look at the antenuptial agreement before making the final judgment on child custody and support, but parents are free to draft an agreement that addresses potential child support and custody difficulties. The court must, however, confirm that the agreement of the parents is in the child’s best interests. Courts will take into account a prenuptial agreement between parents and uphold its terms if they are in the best interests of the kid.

A premarital agreement requiring the couple’s children to be baptized and raised in the Roman Catholic religion was made by the parents in one New York case. The mother of the child requested a modification of the agreement after their divorce so that her child may attend a Christian Science school. The premarital agreement was partially overturned by the court because it was determined that a revision of the agreement was in the child’s best interests.

Will A New York Court Enforce My Prenuptial Agreement?

The minority of states that have not enacted the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act include New York (UPAA). The guidelines and procedures for prenuptial agreements are instead set down by New York state law.

Prenuptial contracts in New York are subject to standard contract laws. In particular, a written agreement must be signed in front of a notary public by the prospective spouses. The prenup is only effective when a couple gets married. But, even if a religious ceremony intended to be a marriage isn’t recognized by the law, a prenuptial agreement is written before it is still enforceable.

A prenuptial agreement is typically assumed to be enforceable unless a spouse can demonstrate one of the following:

  • one spouse signed the agreement under duress
  • one spouse wasn’t mentally competent or was under the age of 18
  • one spouse defrauded the other under the agreement
  • the agreement was unconscionable (severely unfair) when the parties signed it
  • the parties didn’t put the agreement in writing, or
  • the couple didn’t sign the prenup until after the couple married.

Before agreeing to a prenuptial agreement, prospective couples in New York are not required to reveal their financial situation to one another. The prenuptial agreement, however, may be revoked by the court if one of the parties chooses to disclose their assets and offers false information about their financial situation.

A lot of prenuptial agreements cover alimony. In New York, unless one spouse is left destitute, spouses can decide to end spousal assistance under a prenuptial agreement. The prenuptial agreement’s alimony provisions will be invalidated by the court if a spouse who was denied alimony under it is compelled to apply for public assistance.

The prenuptial agreement laws are complicated. Understanding your rights and obligations under a prenuptial agreement is crucial before you sign one. A local New York family law attorney may be able to provide you with guidance if you’re thinking about signing a prenuptial agreement or if you have any other concerns.

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