Agreements Relating to Marriage
Also known as prenuptial agreements, premarital agreements are contracts parties may enter prior to their marriage taking place. Particularly in the case of marriages where one or both spouses has significant assets, or children from a previous marriage or relationship, a premarital agreement could be critical to protect the interests of anyone planning to wed.
Without a prenuptial agreement, you and your spouse would be subject to the property division laws of the state of New York, which according to New York Domestic Relations Law §236(B)(5) are based on the principle of “equitable distribution.” Ideally, a properly executed premarital agreement divides property in the way both of you desire.
Agreements After Marriage
Just because a couple is already married does not mean they cannot clarify through a postnuptial agreement how certain assets are owned and how property will be divided in case of a divorce. If you and your spouse already have a premarital agreement, a post-marital agreement may update that agreement as your situation changes over time.
Not all spouses who do not get along want to divorce, perhaps due to religious objections to divorce or for their own personal reasons. Either way, a separation agreement under NY DRL §200 must address issues such as spousal support and living arrangements that govern how two married people could live apart.
If you and your spouse need time away from each other but have not ruled out the possibility of reconciliation, a separation agreement could give you some breathing space while stating the obligations each of you will have to your spouse while separated. It should be noted, however, that no type of marital agreement allows a parent to avoid child support obligations.
If you do decide to give the marriage another try, your separation agreement can include a clause indicating what happens to it in the event of reconciliation. If you and your spouse decide to divorce, the separation agreement may become part of the divorce judgment, along with certain modifications.