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How a Prenup can Protect your Assets

Before you walk down the aisle, consider whether a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse is right for you. It may not be the most romantic part of wedding planning, but it can be important for marriage planning. The wedding only lasts for a day, but the mistake of not having a prenuptial agreement can cause lasting financial damage for years.

One of the most important distinctions a prenuptial agreement provides is between separate and marital property. Once you get married, if you plan on commingling premarital assets, or using them to buy property together, you could be waiving your right to that separate property interest in the event of a future separation or divorce. Such actions could also turn your separate property into marital property. Practically, this means that you are losing a claim to the value of your separate property by as much as fifty percent. In the event of a divorce, you may find that you gave half of property you came into the marriage with to your soon to be ex-spouse. The result could be devastating.

If you bring assets into a marriage, it is important to continue to protect those assets during the marriage. The same is true if you want to protect assets you may individually earn during the marriage. Love and financial stability are not mutually exclusive. You should have a logical and realistic approach to avoid a financial setback in the event of a separation or divorce. A prenuptial agreement can define these rights with terms that keep your property classified as separate property; free from any claim by your spouse in the future.

A prenuptial agreement can also predetermination the payment or receipt of spousal maintenance. Most couples do not contemplate divorce while they are planning for their happily ever after. Likewise, they do not plan on making payments to their spouse in the event of a breakup. However, it is a common reality. Couples can, predetermine in a prenuptial agreement that spousal maintenance will be either limited, or mutually waived in the event of a separation or divorce. However, that legal obligation remains unless you have a valid and enforceable prenuptial agreement waiving it.

For a prenuptial agreement to be valid and enforceable in New York State, it must meet certain requirements. The agreement must be in writing, signed and duly acknowledged before the marriage, and entered into voluntarily by both parties. The parties must be of sound mind and over the age of 18. Financial transparency is required. If one spouse alleges that they only entered the agreement because of the fraud of the other spouse, that agreement could be challenged and possibly invalidated. The agreement terms must be fair. If the agreement is too one sided it may not be enforceable.

Prenuptial agreements can cover as many or as few rights as the parties choose. It is not one size fits all. It is important to consult with an attorney about your individual circumstances to see if, and how, a prenuptial agreement can protect you. Likewise, if you are presented with a prenuptial agreement from your future spouse, it is important that you have an attorney review that document prior to signing it. Your happily ever after may depend on it.

When planning for your future post-marriage, experienced guidance is more crucial than ever. We can help you at every step of the way during your family matter. We have decades of experience with divorce, equitable distribution, child custody and support, and maintenance issues, and our team of family and matrimonial law attorneys will help you navigate your intricate family and matrimonial legal matters. No matter the current situation, our attorneys are ready to handle your legal representation with sensitivity and care. To schedule an initial consultation, contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (888) 529-4543 or

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