Knowledgeable and Experienced Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys in Westchester County

Planning a marriage is an exciting time in any couple’s life. However, before you say “I do,” you should think about the best method to preserve your possessions and future family. One way to do this in New York State is to prepare a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement is highly personal and totally unique to your specific circumstances. Employing an experienced matrimonial attorney would be in your best interest when seeking to make such agreements, as an attorney will be able to analyze the legal and financial implications of the marriage as they pertain to your unique circumstances.

Our divorce attorneys in White Plains are highly experienced in drafting prenuptial agreements. They have a deep understanding of New York State family and matrimonial laws and will ensure that your rights and best interests are maintained throughout the formation of your marital agreement. We represent individuals throughout Westchester County, including White Plains, Yonkers, Eastchester, New Rochelle, Port Chester, and more. With decades of collective family law experience throughout our firm, Tully Rinckey brings both the dedication and experience needed to uphold your current and future needs.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenuptial agreements are established before marriage, at a time when couples are ready to embark on a new chapter of their lives, and they become effective upon marriage. While prenuptial agreements are often associated with negative stereotypes, they are essential for couples who want to plan for the future and protect themselves.

The state of New York is known as an “equitable distribution state.” Property distribution is normally resolved by the court in the case of a divorce in a fashion that the court believes must be equitable to both parties. However, having a prenuptial agreement removes the court from much of the responsibilities. Instead, having a plan in place ahead of time ensures that the assets are distributed evenly in accordance with your earlier agreement.

It is important to note, however, that prenuptial agreements cannot address matters relating to child support or custody issues.

What Should You Include in Your Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is customized to your specific situation. The following are some of the more prevalent reasons for having these agreements in place and should be answered in your prenuptial agreement:

  • Agree to property rights and ownership of property acquired during the marriage.
  • Protect assets held before marriage from potential distribution.
  • Entitlement, or lack thereof, to a prior or current estate/inheritance.
  • Protect children from a prior marriage or relationship as to their inheritance rights.
  • Set amount and duration of spousal maintenance in the event of a divorce or separation.
  • Waive rights to spousal maintenance, equitable distribution, or counsel fees in case of a divorce or separation.

A prenuptial agreement cannot relinquish a couple’s rights to custody or support of their children. Child custody, support, and visitation are always governed by the needs and best interests of the child.

As with most contracts, certain formalities must be followed for them to be deemed legitimate and enforceable by the courts. Because of the nuances, it is highly advisable for you to work with an attorney who may be able to review your agreement so you can ensure that your contract is valid.

Issues That Will Invalidate Your Prenuptial Agreement

While prenuptial agreements are enforceable once signed, there are some issues that could arise after signing that could invalidate your agreement. Below are a few of the most common reasons why a court may invalidate a prenuptial agreement.

  • Fraud: Each spouse must make full disclosure of their assets when their agreement is written. However, it is not uncommon for a partner to undervalue their assets or try to hide them in the event of a divorce, so they would not be part of any settlement. If you can show that your spouse did not completely disclose their assets, you may be able to have the prenuptial agreement nullified. The same may be said about debt disclosure. It may be grounds to have the agreement invalidated if you discover your spouse has more debt than is listed in the agreement.
  • Coercion: If one of the spouses was forced into signing the prenuptial agreement, the court may rule that it is invalid. One spouse may have been forced to sign the agreement by their spouse, lawyer, or other family members. Although this is difficult to show, it is not unheard of for a judge to invalidate a prenuptial agreement if there is a witness.
  • Filing Issues: The prenuptial agreement must be created and submitted according to the state’s laws. For it to be legal, it must be created and submitted in a very precise way, just like any other legal document. The prenuptial agreement may be invalidated if you can establish that it was incorrectly filed or extremely lopsided. Therefore, it is best to write and submit a prenuptial agreement with the help of a qualified and experienced divorce/matrimonial attorney.

While it’s not an exhaustive list of reasons that a court might invalidate your prenuptial agreement, knowing the cases where it will and won’t result in an invalidation can help protect your well-being should your relationship not work out.

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If your financial security is at risk, it may be worth working with an experienced divorce attorney who can best protect your assets and future. Our divorce attorneys routinely assist families throughout Westchester County, including White Plains, Yonkers, New Rochelle, Port Chester, Eastchester, and more.

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