What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

As defined by New York Domestic Relations Law §236-B(3), a prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people made in contemplation of marriage. This contract is drafted and signed before the wedding and becomes enforceable the moment the couple is legally married.

The agreement can set specific guidelines for the rights and responsibilities of each spouse regarding financial issues, including how assets are handled during the marriage—for example, how each party would retain control over separate property. A common provision can involve individual ownership of real estate acquired prior to the marriage.

Divorce Law and Prenuptial Agreements

A valid prenuptial agreement is typically honored by Rochester divorce courts. If all requirements are followed, the prenuptial agreement would dictate the terms of property division in the event of divorce. Even if the prenuptial agreement conflicts with divorce law regarding asset division, the agreement could still prevail if valid.

Requirements for a Valid Agreement

A valid prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed freely and voluntarily by both parties. Additionally, it must be acknowledged and signed in the presence of a notary and stamped with the notary seal.

Another important requirement for a valid prenuptial contract involves the full disclosure of assets and debts by each party. Assets may include tangible personal property, real estate, bank accounts, stocks, and any other item of value. Partial disclosure, undervaluing assets, or hiding assets could render an agreement unenforceable.

Both parties to a prenuptial agreement should have an opportunity to obtain independent legal counsel from a prenuptial agreements lawyer in Rochester. The agreement is a legally binding contract, so both parties should be given adequate time to consult with their own attorney before signing.

Allowed and Prohibited Provisions

Prenuptial agreements may cover just about any issue relating to finances, including future payment, or waiver, of spousal support. It may also include terms for supporting children from a previous marriage, as well as assignment of debt incurred prior to the marriage.

However, child custody, child support, and parenting plans may be included but may end up not being enforceable, , as Family Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over these matters in the State of New York under NYDRL §240. Courts make decisions on issues regarding children based on the best interests of the child.

Reach Out to a Rochester Prenuptial Agreements Attorney Today

Every couple’s financial situation is different. You may have acquired substantial assets prior to marriage that you want to protect, or perhaps you need to make provisions for a child from a previous relationship or marriage. Depending on your individual circumstances, it can be a complex process to draft an enforceable prenuptial agreement, and is important to know that the agreement you have in place is solid and will be enforceable when you need it.

If you are contemplating marriage, consult with an experienced Rochester prenuptial agreements lawyer from Tully Rinckey PLLC who understands the law and can help draft an agreement tailored to your needs. To schedule a consultation and get started on your case, call (888) 529-4543 or email info@tullylegal.com.

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