Bronx postnup agreement lawyers
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While couples traditionally sign agreements before marriage, a “prenup” can also be signed after marriage. A postnuptial agreement involves disclosing assets that belong to each spouse, including marital and separate property and setting forth an agreement for the division of these assets in the event of a divorce. Postnup agreements can also be used establish pre-marital debt, support for children of a prior marriage, establish spousal maintenance, and more.
If you are already married but concerned about protecting your assets in case of divorce, a postnup can be a wise decision. After all, financial decisions are best made when a couple is on good terms with each other. A Bronx postnuptial agreement lawyer can help you draft an agreement that gives both spouses protection and guidance in the case of divorce.
What a Postnuptial Agreement Can Do
A postnup agreement can be used to address many areas. These agreements don’t need to be made with divorce in mind; they can also be used for financial planning and the financial protection of both spouses. Each spouse can benefit from a postnuptial agreement. A spouse with significant assets prior to marriage can ensure their separate property and the earnings during marriage are protected. A spouse without sizable assets can also benefit from a postnup that sets fair spousal maintenance and/or assets like a home.
The following are issues that may be addressed in a postnup agreement in New York.
Define Separate Property
Separate property refers to assets and money that were brought into the marriage. A postnup can be used to identify separate property that belongs to each spouse such as an inheritance, a home, and cash.
Establish Pre-Marital Debt
Sometimes one spouse’s debt is not known to the other spouse until after marriage. If either spouse brought debt to the relationship, a postnup can state that this debt should stay with the spouse that incurred it.
Establish Support for Children of a Previous Marriage
If either spouse had minor children prior to marriage and they are not adopted by the other spouse, a postnup can ensure the children are looked after in case of divorce.
Establish Spousal Maintenance
A postnuptial agreement is often used to determine a fair amount of maintenance for a spouse during marriage, especially if the spouse has sacrificed a career to raise children or supported the other spouse. This agreement can also be used to determine the type and amount of support that will be provided in case of divorce.
Are Postnup Agreements Enforceable in New York?
Under New York law, a postnup agreement is enforceable in court as long as it’s drafted correctly. Courts have decided that New York postnup agreements are valid when both spouses make a full financial disclosure before signing the agreement, which means hiding assets, for example, can render the agreement void.
There are some circumstances in which some terms or provisions may not be enforceable, however. For example, spousal support terms may be disregarded if one spouse is in financial need at the time of divorce or the agreement is found to be unconscionable or very unfair to one spouse.
Why Consider a Postnuptial Agreement?
Couples have many reasons for creating a postnup agreement after marriage. Sometimes this is done because the couple did not consider the possibility of a prenup prior to marriage, but it’s usually the result of a significant change in circumstances during the marriage. The following are common reasons to consider a postnup.
- Breach of trust. Some couples execute a postnup agreement after there has been a breach of trust in the marriage.
- Out-of-control spending. If one spouse has trouble controlling their spending, a postnup agreement may help. These agreements aren’t just used to determine how assets will be split in case of divorce; they can also be used to set up terms or financial responsibilities during marriage.
- Inheritance. If one spouse inherits money, a postnup can be used to protect the inheritance. An inheritance and assets acquired through inheritance are typically considered separate property during a divorce, but this can become muddled if assets are comingled — or the inheritance money is mixed with marital money. A postnup can make it clear that an inheritance belongs to only one spouse as separate property.
- Change in financial situation. Other major changes in the couple’s financial situation may also prompt a postnup, such as the growth of a business.
How a Postnup Agreement Lawyer Can Help
There are many pitfalls that must be avoided when drafting a postnuptial agreement that stands up in court. For example, a valid postnup must protect both spouses. If the agreement is extremely unfair to one spouse, a judge will likely disregard it. Fair, full disclosure of assets by both spouses is also essential to prevent a postnup from being rendered invalid.
To avoid having a postnup challenged, it’s also important that each spouse have their own Bronx postnup agreement lawyer. Without separate legal representation, a court will look at the agreement more closely for signs that the postnup is unfair.
After a discussion with your spouse, a postnuptial agreement attorney can help you address your concerns and draft an agreement that will protect the best interests of both spouses. An experienced attorney will understand the complex laws surrounding postnup agreements and ensure all legal processes are followed correctly.
Marriage is in many ways a leap into the unknown. You may have no doubt that you love your spouse and want to spend the rest of your life with them. But you may not have thought about every contingency that could happen in your marriage before the wedding day. Now that you have had some time to consider such possibilities you are convinced that a postnuptial agreement is necessary.
Your spouse may have resisted even talking about a pre-nuptial agreement or the topic may have never come up. The drawing up of a postnuptial agreement tends to be done in a very different spirit. Now that you have settled in the marriage resolving thorny financial and familial issues is not as difficult.
You can use a postnuptial agreement to protect any assets and property you owned before the marriage. You may have lived together before the marriage or decided to live in your house after you were married. Since then you have purchased a new home together, but you have kept your old one. A postnup can make it so that this property does not become part of the marital assets that will be subject to division if the two of you divorce.
One of the most popular uses of postnuptial agreements concerns debt. You and your spouse entered the marriage with individual debt. You both may still be paying off student loan debt, auto debt, and consumer debt in addition to the debt you have acquired as a married couple. You can get a postnuptial agreement which states that the debt that each of you acquired before the marriage becomes your individual responsibility in the event of divorce.
You may also want to protect valuable heirlooms. You may have jewelry, furniture, accessories, or books that are meant to be kept in the family. You may have been given precious family items after your wedding, which you are in turn supposed to pass down to your children when they get married. The only way to keep these items from being subject to asset division during a divorce is to get a legal agreement that stipulates they are not.
Indeed, this is an especially important area that too many people overlook. You cannot trust that your family heirlooms will be perfectly safe in the event of your divorce because they do not mean as much to your significant other as they do to you. Divorce has a way of bringing out the worst in people. If your marriage fails, your heirlooms may be targeted because they mean so much to you.
Many other matters can resolved through a postnuptial agreement. It can help you establish a mutually agreed level of maintenance for you or your spouse. This is often a useful remedy for one when one of you has given up a lucrative career to stay home and raise your children. The agreement can also cover the amount of money to be paid in the case of divorce, or it may state that there is to be no maintenance at all.
If your spouse does not adopt the children of a previous marriage, then you can provide for them in a postnuptial agreement. It is essential to get this issue sorted out if the other parent of your children is no longer alive, cannot be found, or has a life that is unsuited for the raising of children.
You can also work out the child support, child custody, and visitation arrangements that will obtain between you in the event of divorce. But it is important to note that the court will always act in the best interest of the child, regardless of what the two parents have worked out beforehand.
If you are the one proposing a postnuptial agreement, you should hire a lawyer who specializes in drawing up such documents. You should also encourage your spouse to get their own lawyer to review the eventual agreement. It is important that the postnuptial agreement be viewed as legally valid and binding. A judge may decide it is not enforceable if they believe your spouse was coerced into signing it.
A lawyer specializing in postnuptial agreements will have the knowledge and insight to recognize such potential problems and advise you on how to be avoid them. They will also sit down with you and help you think through your priorities, so that everyone and everything you care about is covered. Your lawyer will then be able to sit down with your spouse’s lawyer and work out a fair and just agreement.