A prenuptial agreement, also referred to as “prenup” in a short way, or an antenuptial agreement is an official document that regulates the property-related issues of a couple that plans to divorce. In a sense, a prenup is a way for each person in relationships to protect one’s own interests and not to find oneself with nothing. Some people consider prenuptial agreements to be a “one-way ticket” to divorce because society expects that a couple should stay together forever. Thus, if a couple is considering signing an antenuptial agreement, then their feelings are not strong enough, and they do not love each other for sure. However, the real-life situation is not that simple.
In reality, signing a prenuptial agreement is a responsible step for mature citizens. People signing such kinds of contracts usually care about themselves and their property, which they managed to obtain before getting married, and do not want to lose it for anything. However, the separately acquired property issues are not the only matter for the prenuptial agreements.
Here is the list of issues such a contract can regulate:
- the distribution of property in case of the death of one of the spouses
- the rights of spouses to control the family business
- the alimony details: sums and dates
- the insurance privileges (in case of the death of one of the spouses) for the living spouse
- rights of each spouse to control property: buy it, sell it to transfer it
- the state laws governing the contract
This is not the full list of the possible questions the prenuptial agreement can answer. However, these are the most frequently met ones. For each state of the USA, the antenuptial agreement covers a different set of issues. In New York, for example, a prenup has a lot of freedom concerning children-related questions.
And though New York Prenuptial Agreements do not include details on the ways a child is supposed to be educated and taken care of, the prenups here do cover issues on the future child support and custody. For those who are planning to have children, some details about child support are important.
Under child support, people in the USA usually understand the payments of the parent, who is not a custodial (or taking care, or the one, in whose house the child lives) parent, to the custodial one of the child’s needs until he or she turns 21. These payments are supposed to cover health insurance for children, health-related spendings that are not covered by the insurance, cash payments (based on the income), and child care spendings. All these points might be discussed and fixed in such documents as the Prenuptial Agreement in New York.
In any case, the things stated in the antenuptial agreement (that concern the children) must include the best options for them. If the document includes the option that is not the best solution for the child during his/her parents’ divorce, the court might change the point and make another decision if it considers the court’s decision to be the best child’s option.
Is Any Prenup Valid in New York?
For better or for worse, not every prenuptial agreement in New York is considered to be a valid one.
So that the antenuptial agreement was valid and legal, the following requirements should be met:
- The document has to be created in a written form.
- The document has to be signed by both partners with the presence of the official witnesses.
- The document has to be signed with the free will of the partners, and no pressure is acceptable.
- The age of the partners is 18 or more.
- Both partners are mentally healthy and sane.
- The content of the document has to be fair enough and justified.
- To become an official document, the paper has to be signed before the partners get married.
The last point fixes the legitimacy of the prenuptial agreement. The paper, signed after the marriage, is not valid to be considered in the course during the divorce process. However, there is a tricky point here: the prenup, signed before a religious ceremony but before the official marriage in the registry office, might be considered legal. Such kinds of documents come into force after the marriage of the spouses.
For New York citizens, the following point concerning prenuptial agreements works: the partners have the legal right not to reveal their financial situation to their future spouses. However, if it turns out that the person lied about one’s financial affairs while creating the prenuptial agreement, the court has the right to cancel the documents.
Who Might Want to Create a Prenuptial Agreement?
Sometimes a prenuptial agreement is a sensible idea and an unambiguous need. For some people, prenups are a real necessity because they cannot afford to keep their resources vulnerable. For example, rich celebrities cannot risk everything they earned during their career path; that is why their lawyers always recommend them to create such kinds of documents. But, of course, they are not the only ones who need antenuptial agreements.
If you are a lone parent with a child, and you are planning to get married for the second time, a prenup might be a smart solution for you as well. The prenuptial agreement can regulate the inheritance order, and thus, creating it, and you will protect your property to later be transferred to your child.
Prosperous people with high incomes might also be interested in prenups to save their works and protect their assets. The prenuptial agreement will assign the property they obtained before marriage to them so that they were not afraid to lose it.
Even when it comes to not that “rich” individuals, they still might want to sign such a contract. For instance, if they want to keep some affairs separated from their future spouse or protect some property that has a specific value for them — all these cases are significant reasons to create a prenuptial agreement.
What If We Do Not Sign A Prenup?
Creating an antenuptial agreement is not obligatory. Each couple decides on their own whether they need this document or not. If the partners do not sign a prenup, and after they decide to get divorced, their property and assets will be divided in accordance with the local law — for New York citizens, in accordance with the New York laws. Without a prenuptial agreement, individuals lose their power and control over the property. That is why they might be dissatisfied with the court’s decision.
What Are The Issues We Cannot Include In The Prenup?
In New York, people have relative freedom in creating prenuptial agreements. As we already stated above, such documents might cover various issues, from child support to insurance details. But, these papers are not “all-mighty.” First of all, you cannot add there your requirements concerning a child’s education. Sometimes, parents add some points about the future religion of the child (in New York, there was a case when parents wanted their child to be baptized), but these kinds of decisions might be reconsidered by the court during the divorce process (in this example, the mother managed to cancel this point of the prenup when divorcing with her husband).
Another significant aspect the prenuptial agreement cannot include would be the enforcement towards crime or the protection of one or both of the partners if they committed a family-related crime, like domestic violence. In case if one or both of the partners did commit the crime, he/she/they will be punished in accordance with the local law.
The Final Word
Preparing a prenuptial agreement is a responsible decision of the partners who not only care about their union but also about their own separate interests and the potential consequences. To build a correct antenuptial agreement, it is necessary to learn more about the peculiarities of the local laws. If you feel like you need help, you can always address the New York family law attorney for advice.