If you’re planning to get married, it’s smart to get a prenuptial agreement, popularly known as a prenup, before you say your vows. Although some couples skip this, either because they don’t feel like going to the trouble or they don’t find it very romantic, a prenup actually protects both parties in a marriage. This guide will explain exactly how prenups work in New York City, why it’s important to get one and how an attorney can help you set up yours.
How a Prenuptial Agreement Works
The simplest way to explain a prenup is that it’s a legal contract that covers what will happen if a couple gets divorced. A prenup should cover every aspect of a divorce, including:
For a prenup to be valid, both parties must agree to it and sign it before the marriage takes place. The same type of agreement can occur after a marriage, but it would be considered a postnuptial agreement. If the couple gets divorced, then their divorce will go by the terms they agreed to in their prenup. This can make the divorce process go much quicker and cost the couple far less.
Why Every Couple Should Have a Prenup
The most common reason people object to a prenup is because they think it sends the wrong message. Since a prenup only takes effect if a couple gets divorced, some look at it like their partner is planning to get divorced should they suggest a prenup.
That’s the wrong way to look at it. A prenup is like an insurance policy – you never want to use it, but it helps if a worst-case scenario occurs. Even with a prenup, you and your soon-to-be spouse still want the marriage to work out, but you also have been responsible enough to plan in case it doesn’t. After all, divorce is the outcome with about half of all marriages.
If you do get divorced without a prenup, it can be a stressful, time-consuming process that costs thousands of dollars. You and your spouse may disagree on how to divide assets, and if that’s the case, it will be up to the court to decide what happens. With a prenup, you and your spouse have full control of your marriage and what happens should the marriage ends.
It’s impossible to predict how a court will rule during a divorce. You could end up unhappy with a court’s ruling if you leave your divorce to chance. By setting up a prenup with your partner before the marriage, you can ensure that you’ll be satisfied with the resolution should a divorce occur.
How an Attorney Can Help You Prepare Your Prenup
You and your partner may think that you can set up your prenup without any help. Although you two can and should come to an agreement on the major points of a prenup, it’s a mistake to do it all without consulting with attorneys.
There have been cases where courts have thrown out prenups. A court may throw out a prenup for many reasons, including:
To ensure that the court honors your prenup, it’s important for both you and your spouse to have your own attorneys. This way, each of your attorneys can look over the agreement and ensure that it’s fair for their client. You two can’t share an attorney for this, because that would present a conflict of interest.
Your attorneys can also make sure that neither party is under duress when they sign the prenup and get the prenup filed properly so that it will be considered valid.
A prenup certainly isn’t the most enjoyable part of marriage preparation, but it’s a crucial step to take. Make sure you and your spouse each have a lawyer so that the work you do on a prenup doesn’t go to waste.
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