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.