Financial Planning for Married Couples

Planning finances together can provide married couples with peace of mind regarding possible future complications or unfortunate events. This plan may anticipate how bank accounts, retirement accounts, and real property like land or houses should be distributed in the event of a separation or divorce.

New York State law generally recognizes marital agreements that plan for the division or distribution of property under the guidelines listed in New York Domestic Relations Law §236. To start, these agreements must be in writing, executed by both parties, and duly acknowledged before an official such as a notary.

Such marital agreements are generally similar to prenuptial agreements, except that couples may execute them after their marriage. For example, you could sign an agreement that stipulates which bank accounts each party in a marriage would receive in the event of a separation or divorce. Such an agreement could also preemptively distribute your residence or retirement accounts.

Additionally, you could draft a marital plan that defines your property as either separate or marital property. Generally, separate property is property that one party has accumulated or received, without the benefit or participation of the other party. By contrast, marital property refers to property that was jointly purchased or held. An Albany marital planning attorney can provide additional advice and suggestions based on your specific financial situation.

Spousal Support Payments

A married couple may also use a marital agreement to provide spousal support for one of the parties in the event of a separation or divorce. NYDRL §236 authorizes these agreements to provide for the amount and duration of any spousal support payments. Any provisions relating to spousal support must be fair and reasonable at the time of the agreement.

Planning for Childcare

Couples may also draft a marital plan for allocating childcare expenses or child support payments in the event of a separation or divorce. NYDRL §236 permits you to provide for “the custody, care, education, and maintenance” of any of your children through such a plan.

Therefore, you and your children’s other parent could use such a marital agreement to decide in advance on custody arrangements. You could also determine whether one spouse should pay child support or any other childcare expenses to the other spouse. A marital planning lawyer in Albany can provide additional information about determining child custody or child support in a marital agreement. Note, however, that terms concerning minor children are always subject to the review and determination of a court.

Talk to an Albany Marital Planning Attorney Today

A marital plan can be useful to almost any married couple wishing to avoid future disagreements or litigation. While many couples are understandably reluctant to think about a divorce or separation, such advance planning may benefit both parties in a relationship. Couples could use a marital plan to decide in advance how they would handle property distribution and childcare issues so they do not have to dispute those questions during an emotionally difficult divorce process.

The court-tested legal team at Tully Rinckey PLLC is standing by to assist you. We are familiar with different types of plans and agreements and can review your needs and desires in order to work towards an arrangement that fits you. For additional information or to schedule a consultation, call a local Albany marital planning lawyer at (518) 218-7100, or send an email to

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