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A written agreement signed between individuals prior to entering into a marriage is known as a prenuptial agreement. It is possible for couples to have a written agreement after being married that will cover marital assets, property distributions, child support and more. This is called a postnuptial agreement. These agreements are growing in popularity around the country and especially in New York. According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), more than fifty percent of its members have experienced significant growth in clients who see them about getting a postnuptial agreement. Our NYC Postnuptial Lawyers have all the knowledge and experience necessary to create an effective postnuptial agreement.
In the state of New York postnuptial agreements are covered under Domestic Relations Law section 236B3. This law specifically states that agreements made between people prior to or during their marriage are legal. If the agreement is in writing, it is considered to be a matrimonial action.
A postnuptial agreement forces a couple to confront some of the uncomfortable realities of life. They are able to let out feeling and emotions they may have hidden. It will protect the spouses if things go bad in the marriage. It can also provide a sense of security for a couple who doesn’t want to dwell on the negative. They can focus on other things in their lives knowing many important issues between have been settled.
There are a number of reasons a married couple may want a postnuptial agreement. Financial issues are a common motivation. A spouse may be concerned about the level of debt the other spouse is accumulating. The couple may want to stay together. A postnuptial agreement will determine which spouse is responsible to repay the debt. This agreement can indemnify the other spouse from negative financial consequences should the marriage end. This agreement then can be used as a condition for continuing the marriage.
In some situations, a couple may have intended to sign a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married but didn’t. One person may have not understood what a prenuptial agreement meant to the relationship. The couple may have felt too much pressure with all the things occurring prior to getting married. After being married for a period of time, a couple may see the benefits of a postnuptial agreement. It happens when emotions aren’t so intense. The couple is able to relax and spend more time planning their future.
Amount of Assets
When some couples are married for a period of time, one of them may begin making much more money than the other. This person may want to secure as many assets as possible should the marriage end in divorce. A spouse may leave the workforce and want to protect the remaining assets they have against any unfair distributions should the marriage terminate. This could help someone in a marriage feel more secure. It will eliminate the concern about losing retirement assets, specific property and more.
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A couple may purchase property during the course of their marriage. One spouse’s assets could have been used to purchase property. The other spouse could have paid for the renovation as well as necessary repairs and upkeep. Should the marriage end, each spouse will feel entitled to the property. A postnuptial agreement can determine how much of the property each spouse will get should the marriage result in a divorce. This agreement can be updated to include each new property obtained by the couple. The stress of purchasing property can be eliminated. Each spouse will know how much of each property will be theirs should the marriage end.
During the course of a marriage, one spouse may inherit significant assets. These types of assets are considered separate property. They can be kept from becoming marital assets. They will continue in the name of the spouse who has inherited them. If these assets are utilized to purchase new property or make investment designed to benefit the family things could change. A postnuptial agreement can be designed to determine what will happen to the new investments and other assets should the marriage end. This will be a benefit to the inheriting spouse. They can retain assets they consider important. The inheriting spouse will not need to worry about the dissolution of these assets in case of divorce.
When individuals have had a previous marriage, they may have assets they want to protect. A spouse may be motivated by a desire to financially provide for their parents, children or grandchildren. A postnuptial agreement can determine which assets are part of the new marriage and which ones are not. It can designate the amount of funds to be used for parental care, child education, support payments and more. This can benefit a spouse. It is a way to determine if they can remain living in a home that was obtained during a previous marriage in the event of divorce.
The key to creating a postnuptial agreement that meets each spouses specific needs is to identify goals prior to the agreement’s creation. The success of the agreement will be determined by how well key questions are answered. A couple needs to be focused on the big picture of the agreement. It is not a good idea for them to be overtaken by their emotions. Each spouse may want to start by listing their long-term goals and any concerns they have about the agreement. During the negotiation process spouses often discover they have similar goals. It’s important they are flexible. They should be willing to think beyond percentages or a specific formula. A little creativity could easily provide a solution that is acceptable to both spouses.
Review Assets And Liabilities
Nobody can determine the future. A postnuptial agreement can help a couple better understand their assets and liabilities currently and in the future. It will cause each member of the marriage to carefully review their property, salary as well as debts, investments and more. Each spouse can get a better realization of their potential earning capacity and what that would bring to the marriage. Spouses can also get a better understanding of how anticipated inheritances or trust payouts will impact their marriage.
There is not one prenuptial agreement that can be used for multiple situations. Each one will have to be designed to meet the individual circumstances facing each married couple. Every couple has different debts and assets as well as attitudes toward the agreement. Each situation will have different priorities and preferences. An experienced attorney from our NYC Postnuptial law firm will know what questions to ask. They are able to determine the specifics of a situation during discussions before the agreement is created. The spouse will know the agreement will protect assets that are rightfully theirs should the marriage end in divorce.
Each spouse may want to have their own attorney to negotiate the couple’s postnuptial agreement. This is a good way for each spouse to make certain their interests are fairly represented. Using only one attorney in New York could make a court suspicious. It could result in a successful challenge to the enforcement of the postnuptial agreement. An attorney will know the specific rules that must be followed when it comes to the signatures on the agreement. An innocent error could invalidate the entire agreement. Attorneys from NYCDivorceLawyers.com will know the best way to present all of the assets and debts to be included. Their experienced attorneys know how to draft an effective prenuptial agreement that will be effectively enforced by the courts.
Couples who get married expect to stay together for the rest of their lives. Nobody expects to divorce. But over the course of a relationship, things can change. People sometimes grow apart over a span of several years, or they begin to have conflict where they didn’t before. When two people can no longer get along or reconcile their differences, divorce can sometimes be the best option.
There are a number of important decisions that should be made before the divorce proceedings begin. If they aren’t handled prior to the proceedings, they may cause hostility and tension between the involved parties. One of the ways couples avoid divorce-related problems is by signing a prenuptial agreement.
You’re probably familiar with prenuptial agreements as legally binding documents that are signed prior to a marriage. But what many people don’t know is that you can still create the same agreement after you’ve gotten married. If this agreement is put into place after the marriage, it’s considered a postnuptial agreement rather than a prenuptial agreement.
Reasons for a Postnuptial Agreement
There are a number of reasons a couple may decide to pursue a postnuptial agreement. Usually, these involve changes in circumstances and new factors that weren’t an issue prior to the marriage. In addition, couples may use a postnuptial agreement to help avoid a potentially lengthy divorce process and financial disputes.
Some factors that may make a couple seek a postnuptial agreement include:
- Newly liquidated assets
- A substantial inheritance
- A change in career for one or both spouses
The Basics of a Postnuptial
Upon signing a postnuptial agreement, a married couple agrees that certain financial occurrences will take place if they ever decide to get a divorce.
It’s important to understand that the goal is not to control either spouse’s behavior. These agreements cannot be used for child custody arrangements. It also can’t include “if-then” stipulations. An example: If my spouse doesn’t perform roof maintenance once per year, then he gets a smaller share of the inheritance.
If you do want to establish child custody arrangements for a potential divorce, you can discuss this with your spouse and put a plan in writing. During the actual divorce proceeding, you might submit this to the judge. The judge makes the final ruling on all custody arrangements.
Postnuptial agreements can be very helpful in determining the division of property and assets in a divorce. It might also outline a plan for spousal support payments. If the agreement is handled correctly, it’s a basic guideline that eliminates a great deal of hassle from a divorce.
Division of Property
In New York, there are laws outlined determining how to divide marital property during a divorce. Without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, assets are divided evenly between the two parties. However, if you do have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the court will recognize its validity. A postnuptial agreement supersedes New York’s usual laws regarding property division.
In addition, if you have any assets or marital property located outside the state, the postnuptial agreement will determine how this is distributed as well.
Defining Separate Property
In most divorce proceedings, all marital assets are considered to be equally shared between the two spouses. Each spouse is entitled to an equal share of the total assets. However, if there’s property you want to keep separate, this is one of the main purposes a postnuptial agreement serves.
Basically, each individual will continue to individually own all the property they had prior to the marriage. Marital assets will only be calculated based on assets that were acquired after the couple was married.
There have been cases in which one party has lost the house they owned in the divorce because they added their spouse’s name to the title. Adding the spouse’s name turns the property into marital property, which is then divided according to New York law.
Before You Sign
If you’re presented with a postnuptial agreement, there are a few steps you should take before you sign the document. The most important is to have your attorney review it. Each spouse’s attorney is responsible for their own client. One spouse’s attorney is not allowed to give the other spouse advice, as this is a conflict of interest.
Be aware that you cannot change the terms of a postnuptial agreement after you sign it. For this reason, you need to be sure those terms are in your best interest