Prenuptial Agreements and Postnuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement, also referred to as a prenup, is entered into by both parties before marriage. This agreement dictates what will happen to you and your spouse’s income and assets in the unfortunate event of divorce, separation or death. Most importantly, a prenuptial agreement can preserve the nature of property in the event the marriage ends.
A postnuptial agreement, also referred to as a postnup is a written contract executed after the time when a couple gets married, or have entered a civil union. The purpose of postnup is the same as a prenup; to settle the couple’s affairs and assets in the event of a separation or divorce.
As mentioned above; Prenuptial agreements and Postnuptial agreements are commonly viewed as an exit strategy from a marriage, articulating the soon to be spouse, or spouses, thoughts about how assets and liabilities would be divided, what assets are included in the marital estate, who would receive spousal maintenance and for how long, etc., should the marriage end in divorce. While this understanding of these agreements is accurate, and there is a value to planning out how these divorce issues would be handled should such misfortune arise, it is also true that a Prenuptial Agreement can assist in keeping couples together. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be used to articulate the parties’ respective expectations about their financial responsibilities and roles during the marriage. Because many marriages end because of financial discord, there is a significant value in memorializing financial expectations prior too or during the marriage.
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The value of discussing these expectations is particularly important in a prenuptial agreement because it would require the couple to have a meaningful discussion regarding finances, and hopefully culminate in an understanding that marriage is the right choice for the couple, as marriage is, in part, a financial partnership. The dissolution of a marriage is just the dismantling of a financial relationship with your marital partner; a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement helps dictate the conclusion of a marital relationship.
Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements are governed by the freedom of contract principle, but there are some issues that cannot be included in such agreements, such as issues concerning illegal behavior. Similarly, child custody and child support cannot be resolved definitively by a prenuptial agreement as such is determined by the best interest of the child, which is never final and can always be revisited. Additionally, child support is governed by statute, the CSSA (Child Support Standards Act), and the court has to review such provisions, even if the parents agree, to determine whether the financial agreement meets the needs and best interest of the children. Issues concerning the children’s care and education may also be addressed in either a postnuptial agreement or a prenuptial agreement, however they may also be subject to review should one parent seek to modify such provision.
For these contracts to be valid in New York they must be written and signed by both parties before a notary. It is recommended that you have a qualified and trained Divorce Attorney review any Prenuptial agreement or Postnuptial agreement before executing such an agreement. While it is not required, it is recommended for each party to exchange a Statement of Net Worth, which is typically attached as an addendum to the agreement. The agreement is presumed to be valid unless contested by one spouse, and such contest is made on specific basis, such as fraud, unconscionability, capacity, duress, or other fact specific issues concerning the execution of the prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement documents.
The attorneys at Rubinstein, Zeh & Associates strive to assist couples in drafting prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements that will achieve their wishes, with preemptive thought to ensure long-lasting future validity with any one of the many life changing events or circumstance that can affect the intent of these documents. Properly executed prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements have the potential propensity of lessening the acrimony between spouses who are divorcing.
At the law firm of Rubinstein, Zeh & associates, our approach to drafting prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements is reasonable and open-minded. We will advise you as to the best course based on your circumstances, and with our experience we will provide you with options that you more than likely have not even considered. Our divorce attorneys and family law attorneys at Rubinstein, Zeh and associates represent clients in resolving Custody and Child Visitation Rights in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens County, Bronx County, Westchester County, Richmond County, Manhattan and Brooklyn Kings County New York.
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Having the right quality lawyer on your side can make a world of difference in a matrimonial case in New York. Although it requires you to make a lot of decisions that will have a huge effect on the rest of your life as it changes, finding a lawyer who will work with you, understand your wants and needs, and help you understand how the law can work in your favor can lead to positive results with your divorce. If you are ready to discuss your upcoming Prenuptial agreement or Postnuptial agreement with an attorney in New York, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Rubinstein, Zeh & associates today. We offer free initial matrimonial law and family law consultations, and we are here to help you through this transitional time.
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