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What to include in a prenuptial agreement

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2021 | Property Division

When a couple decides to get married, divorce is rarely on their minds. However, divorce is a reality that many couples have to deal with a later stage. The marriage may sometimes be short and it may sometimes be long but as a couple continues living together, their finances tend to get entangled, which can become a contentious issue during divorce.

Contentious issues and prenuptial agreements

As many people in New York and the rest of the country will now agree, one way to keep those contentious issues at bay is to sign a prenuptial agreement. In a typical prenuptial agreement, the parties getting married disclose all their assets and liabilities. It also mentioned how those assets and liabilities will be divided in the event of a divorce or in the event of the death of one or both the spouses.

One major advantage of a prenuptial agreement is that courts will recognize a valid prenuptial agreement even if it is in contradiction to New York laws pertaining to property division at the time of divorce. That is, even if the property division arrangement in the prenuptial agreement differs with how state laws require property to be divided, the court will allow the division to proceed per the terms of the prenuptial agreement.

Key inclusions in a typical prenuptial agreement

While it may differ from case to case, a typical prenuptial agreement in New York should include details of the following aspects of both spouses’ assets and liabilities:

  • Separate property: All properties and assets that a person brings into the marriage must be defined clearly as separate property.
  • Marital property: It is also possible for couples to identify certain separate property as marital property as long as they are comfortable doing so.
  • Maintenance: In the event of a divorce, maintenance is another contested issues and the prenuptial agreement is a good way to address that.
  • Pre-marriage debt: There are many couples that have debts from prior to the marriage; the prenuptial agreement is a good way of recording that debt.
  • Support for children from earlier marriage: If someone has a child from a previous marriage, a prenuptial agreement is a good way to make arrangements for that child’s need in the event of divorce.

It may not be possible to include certain other issues, such as child custody and support for a child that is unborn. As a result, these issues are usually addressed at the time of divorce.

What else to keep in mind before signing a prenuptial agreement

There are certain other things that a couple should keep in mind. First and foremost, beware of any kind of fraud. Next, do not succumb to any kind of coercion or duress. And finally, make sure that the prenuptial agreement is fair and equitable. Also remember that fraud, coercion or inequality are grounds for invalidating a prenuptial agreement.

Getting married is one of the biggest decisions of one’s life, and signing a prenuptial agreement often comes close. To make sure that a prenuptial agreement is foolproof, it may be a wise decision of part of a person planning to get married to consult an attorney.