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Suffolk County Prenuptial Lawyers

Although most couples get married with the idea the marriage will last, prenuptial agreements can be a good idea because they protect their assets in the event the marriage ends in divorce.

Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is a document that couples agree upon in regards to splitting their assets if the marriage ends in a divorce. It is also important to note a prenuptial agreement must be signed before the marriage. In most cases, prenuptial agreements cover spousal support and division of assets.

According to New York law, prenuptial agreements are to be fair when the agreement is signed and at the time of the divorce. When a prenuptial agreement is favorable toward one spouse, the court could determine it is invalid. If a spouse becomes disabled during the divorce, then the court could see the prenuptial agreement as unfair if it has an influence on the individual’s earning potential.

In addition, there must also be full financial disclosure before the agreement is signed. If a spouse fails to submit his or her full financial information, it could render the agreement invalid. Full financial disclosure is important because it allows spouses to make the decision whether or not to enter into the agreement.

There are certain restrictions about what can be included in a prenuptial agreement. If a prenuptial agreement states one parent is not responsible for child support payments, it will most likely be disregarded during a divorce. However, courts often void invalid terms instead of deeming the entire agreement invalid.

Child Custody and Prenuptial Agreements

Child custody can be a complex issue during a divorce, and some individuals may want to include child custody in a prenuptial agreement. Although this may seem like a good idea, New York (and every other state) does not allow prenuptial agreements to control issues such as child custody.

Can a Prenuptial Agreement be Enforced in New York?

Unlike many other states, New York does not recognize the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act (UPAA). However, New York does have rules and laws set in place for prenuptial agreements.

There are basic requirements that apply to prenuptial agreements in New York. The prenuptial agreement must be in writing, signed, and notarized. The prenuptial agreement will not go into effect until the couple is married. Furthermore, an agreement that is made before a religious ceremony that is meant to be a marriage will be valid even if the ceremony wasn’t a legally binding marriage.

A prenuptial agreement will be valid unless one spouse proves:

  • The agreement was signed under distress
  • A spouse wasn’t mentally competent
  • A spouse was under the age of 18
  • The agreement wasn’t in writing
  • The agreement was signed after the marriage

There are many prenuptial agreements that address alimony, which is also known as spousal maintenance in New York. Unless one spouse will be left destitute, the other spouse can eliminate spousal maintenance in a prenuptial agreement. When one spouse seeks assistance from the government because he or she is deprived of spousal maintenance, the prenuptial agreement could be overturned.

Prenuptial agreement laws are complex, so it is vital that an individual understands the requirements and responsibilities before signing an agreement. An experienced family law attorney serving Suffolk County can provide you with guidance and protect your rights. Before you sign a prenuptial agreement, it is best to have a family law attorney review the document to ensure both parties are protected and the agreement meets all the requirements to be valid.

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