Bronx postnup agreement lawyers
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 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 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 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 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.
High Profile Divorces
High profile divorces and New York City often seem to be attracted to each other. Shortly before the Fourth of July holiday, the wife of basketball star Carmelo Anthony spoke to the media about her marriage and whether her uneasy relationship will affect the future of the New York Knicks. A few days earlier, another celebrity couple had a news headline moment as Bethenny Frankel, star of the celebrity television hit “Real Housewives of New York,” appeared in court to file harassment complaints against her ex-husband.
Postnuptial Legal Issues
All divorce proceedings are difficult, but couples going through marriage dissolution need to think about legal issues that may arise in their postnuptial lives. Most spouses believe that they will get a clean break once the divorce decree is issued by a New York judge; such a situation would be the most ideal, but if there is anything that married life teaches us is that the most unlikely things can happen without warning.
From a legal point of view, a marriage is a series of agreements that can start before the wedding. Premarital or prenuptial agreements, for example, are often drawn for the purpose of clearly dividing individual property that would otherwise become marital property. Separation agreements are often reached in divorce court as a way to handle the delicate issue of how couples should divide their belongings and assets as they prepare to live their separate lives. There is one more agreement that can be reached after marriage but before separation: the postnuptial agreement, a legal instrument recognized by the New York City Bar Association as a valid way to address certain concerns related to dissolution of marriage.
Understanding Postnuptial Agreements
In the aforementioned marriage between Lala and Carmelo Anthony, the actress has admitted that the relationship is currently not at its , but that she is willing to reconcile for the benefit of her 10-year old son. When considering the state of the relationship and the numerous assets and business interests held by this couple, they would certainly benefit from the advice of Bronx postnuptial lawyers.
As its name suggests, a postnuptial agreement is drawn and executed by a married couple. Like a prenuptial agreement, it can be negotiated by each party, and it must abide by New York law. Let’s say the married owners of a successful housekeeping service in the Bronx decide to expand their business into other boroughs; this would be a good time to talk about a postnuptial agreement even if the spouses feel that they are nowhere near a divorce.
Considerations on Both Sides
Consideration is legal speak that means that each person is expected to give something up when they receive something. This is another way to make certain that the agreement is fair and equitable. When sharing out assets, this could mean that one party forfeits their right to the house, for example, in exchange for a sum of money.
Your Bronx postnuptial attorney can make sure that your agreement is balanced and therefore valid in the sense that it’s not only one party giving everything up.
There Must Be Full Disclosure
Another common cause for a judge to throw out postnuptial agreements is that there wasn’t full disclosure at the time of the agreement. While drafting up a postnuptial agreement, you and your spouse will be asked to list your current assets and any expected future assets, including inheritances.
If either of you intentionally withholds an asset, this is fraud. Even if you simply forgot to disclose an asset, it can still end up in the court deciding not to honor your postnuptial agreement. This is why you need an experienced Bronx postnuptial attorney who has worked with families to create these agreements before and is familiar with the most common types of assets that people forget. Your postnuptial lawyer can go over everything with you, especially those tricky potential future assets, and make certain that you don’t miss anything.
It Must Be Voluntary
Just like any legal contract, a postnuptial agreement can be considered invalid if one person was coerced into signing it. Both parties must have signed voluntarily. In the presence of postnuptial attorneys, it’s much simpler to prove that you and your spouse signed the agreement of your own free will. Your attorney and your spouse’s attorney can also make certain that the signing event goes smoothly. Indeed, there are also requirements for this signature process. If you fail to meet those requirements, you risk invalidating your postnuptial agreement.
Parts of a Postnuptial Agreement
A postnuptial agreement consists of disclosures, statements, provisions, and covenants that declare all property and assets owned by the spouses; this should include premarital property as well as any assets acquired since the wedding day. Along with the declaration of assets, spouses should clearly state rights and responsibilities to each other as well as the manner by which property will be divided upon death or separation.
As long as couples feel as if they are on the same page with regard to property division and marital duties, Bronx postnuptial lawyers can represent both spouses in the drafting and execution of an agreement. Should there be a difference of opinion, it is advisable that each spouse seek his or her own attorney.
Other Postnuptial Considerations
Beyond assets and property, a Bronx postnuptial lawyers can also counsel spouses on other factors such as major career changes and other events such as winning the lottery, selling a business entity, getting an inheritance, establishing maintenance, deciding who would be responsible for paying off certain debts, and setting up estate plans. If one spouse is willing to give up his or her career to care for younger children, an agreement can be executed to outline the duties that each parent will undertake. Another situation to agree upon would be obtaining credit cards and assuming responsibilities of certain debts that should be managed individually.
Child Support and Visitation
Child support and visitation are two important factors that can be discussed and determined in a postnuptial agreement, but such decisions must always be in the interest of the children and in accordance with New York state laws.
Uses for Postnuptials
Postnuptial agreements can form the basis of a separation agreement in case of divorce, but the judge must establish that both spouses are of the same opinion in terms of fairness and equitable distributions in the eyes of the law. For this reason, a New York family court judge may give greater weight to a agreements executed by spouses who were represented by separate Bronx posnuptial lawyers.