Prenuptial Agreement

prenuptial agreement
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A very interesting trend that has been gaining popularity in recent years is the conclusion of pre-marital or prenuptial agreements between potential spouses. Such a legal document helps to properly protect the bride and groom from possible financial losses at the stage of wedding planning and differentiates the property relations between them. So, the couple can specify in advance in their prenuptial agreement how the division of property will take place in case of divorce. It should be noted that this agreement concerns only material relations and cannot regulate in any way the non-material aspects of married life. However, sometimes the premarital agreement can take into account certain conditions such as cheating of one of the spouses. If this legal document contains the part that provides the guarantees that, for instance, in case of cheating of one of the spouses, another one will receive all the assets of the marriage, then so be it. Or there are also other common situations, for example, when people marry not for the N time and want to be sure that their property (house, car, bank account) will go to their children, no matter what. In this case, legal paper adjusting at least one financial part of the spouses’ life is a very helpful tool. By the way, there is a high probability that such a strict framework and conditions will perfectly affect the marriage and make it even stronger as there will not be any family fights on the basis of finances.

Why get a prenuptial agreement?

Financial protection may be necessary in many cases, especially if the future spouses have a significant difference in income. Situations where people get married for money and take a large amount of them and valuables from their spouse after a divorce are not new. A prenuptial agreement is made to prevent such scenarios.

Besides, for instance, there will be no place for financial manipulations within the marriage. And, as I mentioned above, the groom, for example, will not be able to impose an obligation on the bride to give birth to a certain number of children within N number of years, and the agreement does not regulate the rights to custody or alimony payments in the event of divorce. It may seem that such a pragmatic approach to family life can kill a marriage before its conclusion, but in fact, the prenuptial agreement is, on the contrary, delineates the rights and duties of spouses and gives each of them confidence that even if things go really bad, none of them will remain without money and without a roof over their heads.

What does a New York prenuptial agreement cover?

The specifics of entering into a prenuptial agreement vary from state to state. As for the state of New York, it also has its own peculiarities.

In fact, the prenuptial agreement is considered to solve problems that without the paper would be decided in court during a divorce trial. Here is the list of the most widespread aspects that can be included and regulated through the agreement:

  • right of each of the spouses to the individual or common assets
  • right of both to own and control the property (sell, buy, exchange, and so on)
  • the order of distribution of the property, assets, and debts within the marriage, or in the event of divorce or death of one of the spouses
  • rights in the management of a family business
  • issues of alimony such as the determination of duration of alimony award or the amount of it
  • the right of each of the spouses to receive benefits in the event of the death of one of them, and
  • other issues important for the couple.

In general, the state of New York offers a wide range of options for future spouses when entering into a prenuptial agreement, but there are a few nuances you should know about. Thus, since the life and safety of a person is a priority for the entire Western society, it is impossible to force a spouse to commit a crime through the agreement or to make one of them conceal the facts of domestic violence in the family.

Although in many states, the prenuptial agreement only concerns the spouses and their financial problems, in New York, it can also regulate certain issues related to children, such as support and custody of them. However, it should be borne in mind that when making a decision, the judge, although they will pay attention to the points of the prenuptial agreement, the main focus will be on the interests and well-being of the child. That is, if compliance with a specific condition of the marriage contract will not meet the needs of the child, the court will make a decision at its discretion.

How to design a prenuptial agreement

In fact, each prenuptial agreement is individual and depends on the specific couple and their wishes and demands. However, there are several points that need to be included in your agreement in order for it to be considered a legal document and have legal force.

1. First of all, indicate your names and surnames, address of residence, and the date the agreement is created.

step 1 - indicate your details - filling out prenuptial agreement

2. Then write the age of each of the spouses, mark if any of you were married up to this point or/ and has children, explain in detail why you both have decided to design the prenuptial agreement.

step 2 - write the age of each of the spouses - filling out prenuptial agreement

3. Think about the structure of your agreement, and it should be clear and understandable as in any legal document. Write down the conditions under which this document can be terminated.

step 3 - write down the conditions - filling out prenuptial agreement

4. Indicate the general property waivers and all other issues that you want to include in the agreement, devoting a separate section to each issue.

5. If there is a section dedicated to real estate, indicate who of you is the owner of the housing according to the prenuptial agreement and also enter the locations of these non-residential properties as it is shown in the picture.

step 4 - indicate the general property waivers - filling out prenuptial agreement

6. As a result, indicate all the duties that the spouse will have to perform as the owner (payment of rent, electricity, etc.). Do not forget to write the amount of compensation or payment (if any) from the house/apartment owner to the spouse who will move out.

step 6 - indicate all the duties - filling out prenuptial agreement

7. Specify all monetary amounts, percentages, and the number of years in parentheses after each scenario under consideration. Try to provide for each aspect and describe in detail on paper what will happen in different cases.

step 7 - specify all monetary amounts - filling out prenuptial agreement

8. Next, there are two options to write about the maintenance. You may devote separate paragraphs to your work: write down where you work, what position you hold, and what salary you receive.

step 8 - write about the maintenance - filling out prenuptial agreement

9. You can write down the income of each of the spouses and briefly describe the features of the maintenance in the event of a divorce. Or you can build a paragraph in a different way and describe everything in as much detail as possible. You can even create a table of money payments for maintenance and include it in this section of the agreement.

step 9 - write down the income - filling out prenuptial agreement

10. Include other important issues in the agreement, such as income tax returns, life insurance, children, disclosure and voluntariness, dissolution of marriage, debts, general provisions, and other issues you want to add to the document according to the drawing up prenuptial agreement rules. In the end, you should put the date of signing the agreement and put your signatures confirming that you fully agree with the text above.

step 10 - include other important issues - filling out prenuptial agreement

11. After the actual text of the prenuptial agreement, attach the texts of your acknowledgments certified by a notary public and dated once again.

step 11.1 - attach the texts of your acknowledgments - filling out prenuptial agreement

On the very last few pages, write a complete list of each spouse’s assets and liabilities.

step 11.2 - write a complete list of each spouse's assets and liabilities - filling out prenuptial agreement

General information for New York

New York is one of the few states that does not accept the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act, which means the state itself sets the requirements for prenuptial agreements. For the agreement to enter into force, it must be made in writing and signed by the future spouses in the notary public’s presence. If everything was done correctly, the prenuptial agreement would come into force after the couple gets married.

In addition to the above, the premarital agreement must be signed by fully capable people, each of whom has reached the age of 18 at the time of signing the document, with the full and mutual consent of both parties. If there is evidence to the contrary or that the signed agreement is extremely unfair, then this document is considered invalid.

Thus, the topic of prenuptial agreements is not simple. On the contrary, it’s quite complicated and ambiguous, and to understand how to correctly draft the text of the agreement, to understand what your rights and obligations will be within the framework of a prenuptial agreement, you may need a professional lawyer. Therefore, take your time, weigh all the pros and cons and decide if it’s worth it or not before putting your signature on this document.