Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer in Garden City, New York

Prenuptial agreements often have a bad connotation, with many people feeling as though entering into a prenuptial agreement is essentially saying the marriage will fail. Others look at a prenuptial agreement as something that is only warranted for those who are super-wealthy and need to protect their non-marital assets. In reality, a prenuptial agreement is nothing more than a planning tool. Just as insurance is purchased “just in case” the worst should happen, a prenuptial agreement is a good “just in case” should a divorce occur down the line. While couples of any age can benefit from a prenuptial agreement, according to a New York Times article, prenuptial agreements are becoming especially popular among millennials.

Perhaps one reason for this phenomenon is the fact that millennials are marrying later than individuals in previous generations, giving them time to build up assets and debts on their own. The changing role of women in the workforce is another reason millennials are considering prenups. In 1980, a mere 13 percent of women living with a male partner earned at least half of the couple’s income; today, that number has tripled. Because of this, millennials often tackle a prenuptial agreement together, as a team.

An important reason to consider a prenuptial agreement is to protect a client’s parents.  Often, parents will contribute to the down-payment on a couple’s first home or a spouse is poised to take over a family business.  In these instances, it is especially important to define what is marital property and what is not.

Those considering a prenuptial agreement should speak to an experienced New York family attorney rather than attempting to create an agreement on their own, using a DIY form. An attorney from The Law Office of Katherine Ryan, P.C., will ensure the prenuptial agreement is properly prepared and executed so there will be no unpleasant surprises in the event the agreement becomes part of a divorce. Every state, including New York, has specific rules which govern prenuptial agreements; Attorney Katherine Ryan can accurately interpret those rules, determining what should be included for each individual’s unique situation. 

What is Covered in a New York Prenuptial Agreement?

Most often, a prenuptial agreement covers issues that would otherwise be decided in a divorce court. Most prenuptial agreements address one or more of the following issues:

  • The right of each spouse to marital and non-marital assets;
  • How debts will be distributed in the event of a divorce or death;
  • How assets will be distributed in the event of a divorce or death;
  • The right of each spouse to lease, buy, sell, or transfer property;
  • The rights of each spouse regarding the management of a family business;
  • Whether either spouse would be entitled to receive spousal maintenance in the event of a divorce, including the amount of the maintenance, as well as the duration.
  • The right of either spouse to life insurance benefits from the other spouse’s policy;
  • Other issues the couple wishes to address, and
  • State laws that govern the agreement.

Since New York is one of a handful of states which has not yet adopted the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act (UPAA), New York state law sets forth requirements and rules associated with prenuptial agreements. Prenuptial agreements in the state of New York are bound by basic contract rules, must be in writing, and must be signed by both spouses in front of a notary public. Prenuptial agreements do not take effect until after the marriage has taken place.

When is a New York Prenuptial Agreement Rendered Invalid?

There are certain circumstances that can invalidate a New York prenuptial agreement. These circumstances include:

  • The agreement was not memorialized in writing;
  • Under the agreement, one spouse defrauded the other;
  • One spouse was under the age of 18 at the time the prenuptial agreement was signed;
  • One spouse was not mentally competent at the time the prenuptial agreement was signed;
  • One spouse pressured the other to sign the prenuptial agreement—i.e., it was signed under duress;
  • The prenuptial agreement was severely unfair when it was signed by the individuals, or
  • The prenuptial agreement was not signed until after the marriage took place.

New York imposes no obligation for individuals who intend to marry to fully disclose their financial situation prior to signing a prenuptial agreement. That being said, if one spouse chooses to disclose his or her financial situation and makes material misrepresentations, then the prenup can be overturned by the Court. Spousal support, or alimony, is often addressed in a prenuptial agreement. In the state of New York, the spouses can decide to eliminate spousal support unless doing so would leave the other spouse in a destitute situation. This means that if the spouse who is deprived of alimony under the terms of a prenuptial agreement is forced to apply for public assistance, the Court is allowed to terminate the prenuptial agreement’s alimony provisions.

Getting the Help Needed for a Prenuptial Agreement in New York

The Law Office of Katherine Ryan, P.C., are committed to the overall wellness of each client, rather than simply being a document drafting “machine.” We want to ensure all our clients understand their own legal documents, and we are particularly responsive, always returning phone calls and emails promptly. At our law firm, we focus on the whole client, ensuring each client has access to information that addresses every question they might have. Katherine Ryan represents clients in Garden City, Stewart Manor, New Hyde Park, Mineola, Huntington, Melville, Woodbury, Commack, Smithtown, Syosset, Jericho, Roslyn, and Manhasset. Those who are considering a prenuptial agreement, or those with other family law issues, should contact The Law Office of Katherine Ryan, P.C. today.