A postnuptial agreement is an agreement couples might choose to enter after marriage to address important financial matters in the event of a future separation or divorce.Schedule a consultation
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A postnuptial agreement, also called a postnup or postmarital contract, is an agreement couples might choose to enter after marriage to address important financial matters in the event of a future separation or divorce. Postnups are very much like prenuptial agreements, except that they’re created after a couple has already married.
People often cite the statistic that half of all marriages end in divorce. Fortunately, that number is out of date and the truth is, according to the CDC, the divorce rate has dropped over the last decade. Some experts attribute this trend to millennials, who tend to wait longer to get married and have a more stable lifestyle when they do. However, many also may stay married due to financial dependence. This is why a well-crafted prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can protect your and your family’s future.
The experienced attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP in New York City and Westchester can address all of your questions and concerns regarding postnuptial agreements and other marital legal matters. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
What is the purpose of a postnuptial agreement?
Your New York postnuptial agreement is quite similar to a prenup – providing spouses the opportunity to define their separate property versus marital property, establish the terms of spousal support and property division, or address matters of premarital debt. However, as with premarital agreements, a postnuptial agreement cannot set out terms for issues for child support or custody.
A couple may have many reasons to enter into a postnup. You might already have a prenuptial agreement and need to update it because your circumstances have changed – perhaps one spouse has inherited a significant amount of money or property, for example. Or, if one spouse has stopped working to care for the children during the marriage, a postnuptial agreement can address and acknowledge career sacrifices made. If one spouse has started a business – or both spouses started one together – a postnup can provide needed clarity on how the business would be valued and/or distributed and/or continue in the event of a divorce.
Things to include in your NYC postmarital agreement
When drafting a postnuptial contract, you should include the same types of things as you would in a prenuptial agreement. Items our clients commonly take into account include:
- How they will split property and assets in the event of a divorce
- Defining separate property versus marital property
- Whether one spouse will pay alimony (a/k/a spousal support or maintenance) and for how long
- How they will handle marital debts, including mortgages, credit card debt and other loans
- How assets and property will be handled if one spouse dies during the marriage (with conditions on whether or not the couple was separated or divorced at the time)
Whether you are seeking to strengthen your marriage by feeling more secure in your financial future, or need guidance on a post-marital contract in the event of a divorce or separation, the skilled attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP can help.
How do I know if my New York postnup is valid?
Issues such as coercion or fraud will render a postnuptial agreement invalid. However, there are other factors that may make a court take a deep look at a postmarital contract and, in some cases, overturn it. Just like a prenup, a postnuptial agreement has several legal requirements, including the following.
Full and truthful disclosure
All assets must be fully disclosed in your postnuptial contract.
Both you and your spouse must retain separate legal counsel. If for any reason you do not, you must waive your right to an attorney in writing.
Reasonable and fair
The conditions and terms in your postnuptial agreement cannot be unconscionable.
Willfully and properly signed
Both spouses must have willingly signed the agreement without duress or coercion, and with sufficient time to make an informed decision. Also, all marital agreements, including postnups, must be executed properly, in a very specific manner.
It is crucial to consult with a skilled NYC marital attorney on these significant types of legal matters.
What are the pros and cons of a NYC postnuptial agreement?
As with any contract, there are benefits and disadvantages. Speaking with a qualified attorney can help you make the right decision for you.
A postnup might be right for you if you need to protect your financial stability in the event of a divorce. Having these issues decided in advance can simplify things and ease tension during the divorce process. Many couples also find a postnuptial agreement strengthens their marriage by keeping their intentions open and honest.
The disadvantages are that some people still see prenups and postnups as unromantic or planning the divorce. Also, it is important to understand that if you sign a marital agreement, it can override any property laws in New York State that you would otherwise be entitled to.
How a Manhattan marital attorney can help
Our attorneys can assist you with all aspects of the postnuptial agreement process. Whether you need to negotiate and draft an agreement, enforce a postnuptial agreement or try to overturn one, we can provide experienced guidance. Our legal knowledge gives your contract the gravity it requires, and ensures all terms and conditions are fair and honest, working in your best interests.
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The NYC marital attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP have decades of experience assisting clients with both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. We can help you protect both your financial security and the stability of your marriage. Call us today at (212) 466-6015 or fill out our contact form.