Drafting an Enforceable Postnuptial Agreement in Rochester
A couple may execute a postnuptial agreement after a legal marriage takes place. This agreement is a legal contract that addresses marital rights, including ownership of assets and distribution of debts. An enforceable postnuptial contract requires both spouses to make a full disclosure of all marital and separate property.
Furthermore, a valid and enforceable postnuptial agreement must be in writing, executed by both parties who sign voluntarily, signed and acknowledged in the presence of a notary, and stamped with the notary seal. Each party should seek independent legal advice from a postnuptial agreements lawyer in Rochester prior to signing as well.
Issues That May Be Addressed in Postnuptial Agreements
Nearly any provision regarding the property, assets, or debts of a married couple could be included in a postnuptial agreement. Common terms addressed in a postnuptial agreement include:
- Identifying separate property owned by each party, such as assets (and debts)
- Defining joint property and establishing ownership of each asset in the event of divorce
- Establishing spousal support if a divorce occurs, including waivers of support
- Setting terms for supporting children from a previous marriage
It should be noted that, unless a couple is divorcing, only family courts have jurisdiction over issues of child custody and support. While these issues can be incorporated into a postnuptial agreement, Rochester courts always consider the best interests of the child over the contractual obligations of the parents.
Challenging and Enforcing a Postnuptial Agreement
A postnuptial agreement may be challenged by either party as invalid. In response to such a challenge, the court reviews the agreement and determines from the evidence presented if the agreement is enforceable.
Typically, agreements may be set aside if one of the parties was coerced or under duress when signing, a party failed to fully disclose all assets, the agreement is extremely one-sided to the point that it leaves one spouse destitute, or the agreement is fundamentally unfair.