Getting married is an exciting time but requires addressing a wide range of matters. Although drafting a prenuptial agreement may not be on top of your list, it can make a positive difference in your marriage in the short and long terms. It also promotes honest and healthy premarital conversations.
If either of you has children from a previous relationship, a significant difference in financial resources, or are typically looking for practical ideas to organize your marital future, a prenuptial contract can be a helpful solution.
#1 A Prenup Defines Marital Property
Although property you bring to the marriage, any inheritance or gift typically qualifies as separate property while property acquired during your marriage counts as marital or joint assets, a prenuptial agreement helps clarify property classification.
In certain cases, you can decide to consider what would generally be individual property as marital property. Just like any other aspect of a prenuptial agreement, each matter is unique to the couple drafting the contract.
#2 A Marital Agreement Protects Your Personal and Professional Assets
If you are a business owner or have children from a previous relationship, a prenuptial agreement can address those personal and professional matters to protect them should you file for divorce or pass away. As for your business, you can designate it as a separate asset to protect you from having to liquidate it for financial or legal reasons if you ever terminate your marriage.
When it comes to children that you and your spouse may share now or in the future, a marital contract cannot include anything about child custody or support as a judge would need to rule on the topic during divorce proceedings.
In addition to property categorization, a prenuptial agreement can identify separate debt, which can protect your finances in the event of a divorce.
#3 A Prenuptial Agreement Simplifies the Divorce Process
If you and your spouse ever decide to file for divorce, your prenuptial agreement can facilitate the process. Since you can identify what counts as a marital and individual asset, how to organize debt, and even what alimony payments may be, your contract can alleviate some of the stress associated with terminating a marriage.
While you would still have to organize child custody and support for any minor child born during your marriage, this nevertheless reduces the number of matters you need to negotiate during a divorce.
To be enforceable, your marital contract must meet any state requirements and/or the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), currently adopted in 28 states.
#4 The Contract Can Be Permanent or Have an End Date
The duration of the prenuptial agreement is up to you and your spouse. While you may choose to keep it permanent as long as you stay married, you also have the option to determine an expiration date. This type of provision is commonly referred to as a “sunset clause” and usually requires the couple to have stayed married for an agreed number of years.
#5 It Can Be a Postnuptial Agreement
If you got married in New York without a prenuptial agreement but would like the peace of mind of drafting a marital contract, the state allows you to do so with a postnuptial agreement. The possibilities and protections are similar. All types of marital contracts require that both parties enter it willfully and commit no fraud when disclosing personal information.
No matter whether you are establishing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, working with a competent family law attorney plays a central role in the process. Working with a lawyer can help you identify all matters that you want and can include in your legally binding document and ensure that your marital contract is enforceable in the event of a divorce, legal separation, or if you or your spouse passes away.
Are you planning to get married in Brooklyn or its surrounding areas? Call Arnel Law Firm today at (718) 550-3024 or fill out our online form to schedule a prenuptial agreement consultation.