At Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein, we want to help NY couples start off on the right foot. For skilled legal guidance on prenuptial agreements talk to us today. Ensure you plan your future as carefully.Schedule a consultation
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Over the past decade or so, prenuptial agreements (also called premarital agreements or prenups) have become more common among engaged couples, losing some of the negative stigma they used to carry. Prenups can be a valuable and important tool in the event of a divorce, but they must be created and negotiated thoughtfully and fairly.
The number of engaged couples requesting prenuptial agreements has been slowly increasing nationwide, especially among millennials—a 62% increase over the past few years, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. With marriages happening later in life, romantic partners may have more assets to consider before tying the knot. A prenuptial agreement can provide needed security and clarity regarding those assets.
If you and your partner are considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, or if you need guidance on whether one is right for you, the skilled prenup attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP can help! We have decades of experience representing the people of New York City and the surrounding suburbs.
Contact a prenup lawyer near you at (212) 466-6015 today to schedule a consultation.
What Is the Purpose of a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenup is a contract that you and your future spouse enter into before your marriage. In this agreement, you each disclose all of your property and assets before getting married.
Your prenuptial agreement may also:
- Determine how you and your future spouse will divide and allocate property and assets in the event of a divorce or death
- Protects your business or property you own
- Protects any intellectual property you have an interest in
- Protect your pension and retirement account
- Set the terms of spousal support and alimony following a divorce
- Address estate rights
When considering a prenuptial agreement, you and your fiancé(e) must be completely honest and forthright when disclosing both your assets and your debts. If anything is hidden, the prenup will not be considered valid in a court of law.
What are the most important things to include in a prenup?
Premarital agreements can be as unique as the couple that creates them. However, any rock-solid prenup has a few things in common.
Here are the most important issues to consider as you think about your Manhattan prenuptial agreement.
With many couples, the main goal of a prenuptial agreement is to ensure each person’s right to their separate assets and property, including:
- Real estate
- Retirement assets
- And more
This is especially the case in New York City and the surrounding suburbs, where real estate is at a premium.
In essence, a prenup outlines what assets return to which person in the event of a divorce—and this can be regardless of whether the asset was owned or acquired together or separately. Your prenup can also divide up your debts and provide options for each spouse to transfer, sell, or buy property.
Alimony/Spousal Support and Other Benefits
A premarital contract can also set terms for the amount of alimony—or spousal support/spousal maintenance—either spouse might receive should the marriage end. You and your future spouse might want to outline the amount or duration of support, and/or the amount of life insurance one spouse may receive if the other dies unexpectedly.
At Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein, our New York prenuptial agreement attorneys can help ensure you include every important detail to financially protect yourself and your family.
Issues that will invalidate your Manhattan prenuptial agreement
Hypothetically, you and your fiancé(e) can put anything you would like into your prenup (except child-related issues).
Your prenuptial agreement could be considered invalid and unenforceable if:
- The agreement was signed under duress or coercion, or by someone who did not have the mental capacity to contract at the time;
- One or both spouses signed without informed legal representation; and/or
- The agreement is deemed to be unconscionable.
The NYC courts will generally raise an eyebrow at prenups that waive a spouse’s right to spousal support, and in some cases may invalidate those provisions if it will leave the spouse destitute or forced to seek public assistance.
What are the advantages of having a New York City premarital agreement?
Of course, there are pros and cons to everything, including prenuptial agreements.
Prenups have many advantages, including:
- The peace of mind that in the event your marriage ends, many of the difficult issues can be resolved quickly and amicably;
- Protecting the inheritance rights of your children, grandchildren, and other heirs from previous marriages;
- Ensuring you are not responsible for assuming any significant debt your spouse brings into the marriage;
- Protecting your right to control your business or practice post-divorce;
- Protecting commingled assets; and
- Protecting the assets you inherited, are gifted, or bring into the marriage.
With the guidance of experienced prenup lawyers, you can ensure your premarital agreement protects you and your loved ones in the unfortunate event of a split.
What are the disadvantages of having a prenuptial agreement?
Any disadvantage or disagreement you may have about your prenup can typically be negotiated to a mutually beneficial outcome. Taking potential pitfalls into consideration at the start can help avoid conflicts in the future.
Important things to think about when drafting your agreement include:
- A prenup might have a requirement in it that waives your right to inherit from your spouse’s estate upon their death. Without this type of waiver, you would be entitled by law to a portion of their estate, even if you were not included in the will.
- Contributing to the success of your spouse’s practice or business—increasing its value—is typically considered divisible marital property. However, if you waive this right in your prenup, you will not be entitled to a share of this increase.
- Some people still see a legal contract about assets and property as unromantic or “planning your divorce” and can sometimes contribute to a lack of trust between couples. However, if the process is handled properly, it can actually strengthen your marriage.
At Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein, we want to help NY couples start off on the right foot. For skilled legal guidance on prenuptial agreements and other matters, don't hesitate to contact our firm. Ensure you plan your future as carefully as you plan your wedding.
Get started with a consultation today—contact a Manhattan, NYC prenuptial agreement lawyer online!
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Most couples do not enter a marriage thinking they will one day get divorced. However, planning for the unexpected is both smart and practical—and a prenuptial agreement is a good place to start. The matrimonial lawyers at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP are here to help. Call us today at (212) 466-6015 or fill out our contact form.