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When people initially hear the term, ‘prenuptial agreement,’ the response oftentimes is a negative knee-jerk reaction rather than a thoughtful contemplation of what it really is and how supportive the document to a couple planning a future together. In fact, the very creation of a prenuptial agreement can, for many couples, be an educational and enlightening experience.
A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that outlines the assets of each party prior to merging those assets, defined as finances, intellectual property, physical property, inheritances, and even children from a previous marriage. The agreement serves as a binding legal contract between two people, setting forth the financial rights, entitlements and obligations of each party, prior to marriage.
Key facts to note include the fact that both parties must agree to develop the document as it requires a cooperative review of current assets stemming from each individual as well as projections of any future assets. In undergoing this exercise, couples have the unique opportunity to communicate clearly and precisely how they believe things should be divided should the marriage terminate. Development of a prenuptial agreement does not suggest that the marriage will end, but rather, that the couple wants to individually clarify how they would want to divide assets and/or debt, financial or otherwise, resulting from the marital partnership.
Prenuptial agreements are beneficial in more ways than one as they can be leveraged not only in the event of divorce, but for estate planning purposes to protect the wishes of a spouse in the event that he or she dies without having drawn up a valid will. Other reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement include, but are not limited to, business ownership, future inheritances, and support of children from previous or the forthcoming marriage. The legal roadmap outlined by a prenuptial agreement may include provisions for the ownership, division, or distribution of separate or marital property, provisions for the amount and duration of maintenance, as well as customizable terms and conditions of the marriage relationship. Custody, care, education and maintenance of children may also be detailed within a prenuptial agreement.
In New York State, should a couple amid divorce be unable to agree on the distribution of assets, custody, care or support for children, the court can distribute assets and assign responsibility as it deems equitable. This complete loss of any say can be extremely daunting for couples amid heated disagreement, which is why the establishment of a synergistically-designed prenuptial agreement can become the optimal solution.
Once you decide you want to develop a prenuptial agreement, we encourage the support and guidance of an experienced, trusted attorney as prenuptial agreements must be drafted in a specific fashion to help ensure enforceability. In addition, the agreement must be in writing, not simply verbally discussed and agreed upon, and all parties must voluntarily participate in its development. Once signed by both parties, the agreement must be notarized by a notary public to finalize its legality.
With this in mind, Marnell Law Group, P.C. can assist in expertly crafting a comprehensive and completely collaborative prenuptial agreement that sensitively considers each party’s concerns. Our firm’s Client Centered, Client Focused Care® approach is the underpinning of a synergistic and thoughtful discussion.
Additionally, instead of spending hours emotionally debating or justifying a prenuptial agreement alone, our team of expert legal counselors is available to walk both parties through the benefits of a prenuptial agreement before it is even drafted. We can provide guidelines, samples, outlines, and ideas to ensure that each person is fairly represented and comfortable with the final agreement.