Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer in Garden City, New York
In the state of New York, a postnuptial agreement is essentially the same thing as a prenuptial agreement, but it is signed after the couple is married. A postnuptial agreement is a legal contract that dictates how a couple’s assets will be divided in the event of a divorce or death. A postnuptial agreement can also contain other provisions that dictate marital conduct, from expectations of monogamy, even to the division of household chores. Overall, postnuptial agreements are primarily about money.
According to Consumer Affairs, postnuptial agreements are becoming more common among married couples. In fact, a survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyer members found that half of all family law attorneys noted an increase in spouses seeking postnuptial agreements over the past three years. The theory behind a postnuptial agreement is that by agreeing about certain issues before the marriage takes a turn for the worse and emotions are running high, can actually smooth the way should the marriage actually go south.
The survey in Consumer Affairs found that 90 percent of the attorneys who draw up postnuptial agreements say the agreements cover division of property, while 73 percent said the postnuptial agreements cover spousal support. Some attorneys believe a postnuptial agreement can actually be good for a marriage; by deciding what the agreement should cover, the couple may uncover things that are causing stress in the marriage. The Law Office of Katherine Ryan, P.C., can help couples put together the postnuptial agreement for their unique situation. Personalization for the client’s individual needs is important to attorney Katherine Ryan, and she will work hard to meet those needs.
Who Needs a Postnuptial Agreement?
Because roles and relationships—as well as financial circumstances—change often in life, it can sometimes make sense to execute a postnuptial agreement. Some examples of reasons a spouse might seek a postnuptial agreement include:
- Infidelity has resulted in a lack of trust in the marriage, and one spouse wants to clarify all financial matters should a divorce result.
- One spouse receives a substantial inheritance, and the spouse wants to have the inheritance distributed in a different manner than it would otherwise be distributed under New York law.
- After marriage, one spouse finds out the other spouse incurred significant debt prior to the marriage and wants to ensure he or she is not responsible for that spouse’s debt.
- The couple opens a business and wants to clarify business assets vs. marital assets vs. separate assets.
- One spouse gives up his or her career to stay home, running the household and raising the children and wants to ensure his or her financial interests are protected in the event of a divorce.
- Both spouses have significant assets and want to ensure they are protected.
- One or both spouses have children from a prior marriage.
What Can a New York Postnuptial Agreement Cover?
Although a postnuptial agreement can cover any number of issues, the most common issues include:
- Clarifying debt brought into the marriage by either spouse;
- Designating a home brought into the marriage as separate property;
- Determining whether spousal maintenance will be paid in the event of a divorce, and even determining the amount of the payments and the length of the payments;
- Defining marital and non-marital property;
- Designating property to be separate or marital even when it does not follow property categories designated by New York law;
- Protecting separate property in the event of a divorce;
- Determining whether child support will be paid for children from a prior relationship, and
- Working out child custody, parenting time, and support for children of the marriage.
It is important to note that a postnuptial agreement that details child custody, parenting time, and child support is not binding since the best interests of the child are always the most important issue as far as the court is concerned.
Requirements for a New York Postnuptial Agreement
In the state of New York, a postnuptial agreement must be in writing, must be signed by both parties in front of a notary public, and must be transparent—i.e., both spouses fully disclosed their financial position. In the state of New York, postnuptial agreements are enforceable, however, these agreements can be challenged. If the terms of the postnuptial agreement exhibit clear inequity, if there was any coercion, if fraud occurred, or if the postnuptial is deemed unfair because one of the spouses was not represented by an attorney, a judge might disregard the postnuptial agreement.
Who Should Avoid a Postnuptial Agreement?
There are certain instances in which a postnuptial agreement is not a good idea, such as:
- When one spouse has significantly more income and assets than the other spouse. As an example, if the wife has little income and assets and marries a man with considerable income and assets, the lower-earning spouse might find that a postnuptial agreement fails to adequately protect her in the event of separation or divorce.
- When one spouse was not given sufficient time to read or evaluate the terms of the agreement, then that spouse should not sign the agreement. A postnuptial agreement is a legal contract, which means both parties should fully understand the contents of the agreement, and each party should have his or her own lawyer make sure their rights are fully protected in the postnuptial agreement.
What Can a Postnuptial Agreement not do?
A postnuptial agreement will not affect the distribution of property after the death of one spouse unless there is a clause in the agreement which indicates that the agreement should affect that distribution. Normally, property is distributed according to a will or trust, or, according to New York intestate law if no will or trust exists. Couples who choose to use a postnuptial agreement to distribute property after death should definitely consult an experienced New York attorney before doing so.
How the Law Office of Katherine Ryan, P.C. Can Help with a Postnuptial Agreement
Attorney Katherine Ryan had a vision of creating a law firm where the attorneys were committed to the overall wellness of the client, rather than simply being a law firm that drafted documents. This commitment to client wellness includes promptly returning phone calls and emails, as well as engaging in fair billing practices. When clients go to The Law Office of Katherine Ryan, P.C., they will find that the attorneys always meet deadlines, and focus on moving issues forward quickly.
Katherine Ryan is passionate about creating individual solutions for each client who walks through her doors; if that includes a postnuptial agreement, Katherine will work zealously to ensure her client is protected in every way. Katherine Ryan represents clients in Garden City, Stewart Manor, New Hyde Park, Mineola, Huntington, Melville, Woodbury, Commack, Smithtown, Syosset, Jericho, Roslyn, and Manhasset. Contact The Law Office of Katherine Ryan, P.C. today for quality legal assistance with every family law issue.