Bronx Postnuptial Lawyers

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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 best, 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 best 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.