Prenuptial agreements can usually be quite beneficial to both spouses in the event that they ever decide to divorce. Prenuptial agreements resolve – in advance – divorce-related issues such as spousal maintenance and division of assets. If you’d like to have a prenuptial accord in place before taking your marriage vows, if you are divorcing and you need to have a prenuptial agreement enforced, or if you’d like to learn more about how prenuptial agreements work, contact a Peekskill-based New York family law attorney.

The number of couples seeking before marriage agreements prior to marriage is steadily rising. Prenuptial agreements are not just for the rich and famous any longer. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says that more divorce attorneys are seeing more requests for prenuptial agreements in recent years. Why not? A good prenuptial agreement is fair, voluntary, and provides important protections to both partners in the event of a divorce. If you need a prenuptial accord prior to your marriage in Westchester County or anywhere in New York, contact an experienced Peekskill family law attorney promptly.

One of the newest and most interesting items now included in some before marriage agreements is the “social media” clause. Generally, a social media clause is an accord by the partners that they will not post negative, embarrassing, insulting, or critical comments, photos, or videos of the other partner online. Depending on the precise language of the agreement, one ex-spouse could face a hefty fine for posting something negative about the other ex-spouse.

Social media clauses have emerged in response to some horror stories about embarrassing personal secrets being revealed by ex-spouses. A social media clause is designed to safeguard privacy and to protect professional and personal reputations. It’s recommended that a social media clause should include all posts about an ex-spouse, not just those that are overtly or aggressively negative. Otherwise, an ex could claim, “I thought you looked good in that one” when he or she posts a picture that you feel is offensive.

Marriage can be a great joy and a great adventure. It’s even better when you’ve covered all of your bases by ensuring that you’ll be protected in the event that the marriage eventually dissolves. For advice about prenuptial agreements in Westchester County, or to have a prenuptial agreement drafted for you and your partner, contact an experienced Peekskill family law attorney promptly.

What Makes a Prenuptial Agreement Valid?

It is best to consult with a New York family lawyer for help drafting a prenuptial agreement. A precisely-drafted document is the best assurance that your prenuptial accord is enforceable in the future and that it is the agreement both parties desire. If you and your soon-to-be spouse have already decided what should go into a prenuptial agreement, get your agreement reviewed by a lawyer before you go ahead and sign it. Remember, a prenuptial agreement may not be as a watertight as you believe it is, and the court may throw out your agreement if it finds holes in it.

For your prenuptial accord  to be considered legal and valid, it must fulfill the following criteria.

  • It must have been signed before you got married.
  • It must be legally notarized.
  • It must be written. An oral agreement cannot be considered a prenuptial agreement, and will not be upheld by a court.
  • Both of the parties must have signed the agreement voluntarily. In other words, there must be no coercion involved.
  • Both of the parties must have made full financial disclosure before they signed the agreement. A court may find that an accord is invalid if one of the parties has withheld significant financial information from the other. There must be no coercion involved in your prenuptial agreement.
  • Your prenuptial accord must also not contain any matters that are against public policy or law. For instance, you cannot include matters of child custody or child support in your prenuptial agreement. These are matters that will be decided according to existing guidelines.

For help reviewing your prenuptial agreement, schedule a consultation with a New York family lawyer today.

Immigrant Couples and New York Law

New York courts are frequently asked to consider whether pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements – entered into in foreign countries by immigrants now living in New York – are enforceable. New York courts generally presume that marriage agreements signed anywhere are valid and enforceable, but the final resolution of these matters hinges on precisely what laws govern the pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement. If you are in a dispute over a pre-nuptial or a post-nuptial accord of if you anticipate such a dispute, consult at once with an experienced Peekskill family law attorney.

The same judge in two recent New York cases recently determined that a court must consider the location where the marriage accord  was signed, the terms of the agreement, and the location where the parties currently reside. In the first case, spouses signed a pre-nuptial agreement in Spain and married more than a year later in the Dominican Republic. At the time of the divorce, both spouses lived in New York. The wife alleged and the court agreed that the pre-nuptial agreement failed to comply with the laws of both Spain and the Dominican Republic, so the agreement was judged invalid. In the other case, spouses signed a post-nuptial at the Spanish Consulate in New York. The Court determined that New York law governed the agreement since the spouses were married in New York and the agreement was drafted, negotiated, and executed in New York. As New York law governed the agreement, the court had the right to invalidate it, and the court did that.

Some of the trouble may be avoided by including a “choice of law” clause in your pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement. Such a clause tells any court interpreting the agreement that New York law (or any other state’s law) should be applied.

If you and your spouse are seeking to draft a pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreement that will likely hold up in any court, get legal help and advice in New York by consulting promptly with an experienced Peekskill family law attorney.

By: Kimberly Pelesz

Family law and criminal defense attorney Kimberly A. Pelesz received a B.S. degree magna cum laude and an M.P.A. degree summa cum laude from Binghamton University. She earned her J.D. from Pace University School of Law in White Plains, where she was selected for Phi Alpha Delta. Her charitable activities include work with My Sisters’ Place in White Plains and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Humane Education Taskforce.

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