New York laws provide specific guidelines for the division of property when a married person dies or a couple divorces. When couples’ preferences differ from New York’s default property division laws, they can use a postnuptial agreement to formally record their wishes.
A postnuptial agreement allows already-married spouses to assume control over how their assets should be treated in the future. Here, The Mandel Law Firm explores the specifics of postnuptial agreements and how an experienced attorney can help you create a valid postnup in New York.
What Is a Postnuptial Agreement?
Postnuptial agreements are a special type of arrangement that is established after two people marry. Many couples decide to create postnuptial agreements after:
- A significant change in financial circumstances
- One spouse gives up their career to care for dependents
- One or both spouses decide to open a business
- One or both spouses receive a sizable inheritance
- One or both spouses incur significant debts before or during marriage
- A substantial loss of trust develops in the relationship
Postnuptial agreements formally describe what couples want to happen in the event that they become separated by death or divorce. A thorough postnuptial agreement can cover issues such as:
- Which assets are considered separate property
- Who owns each piece of separate property
- Which assets are considered marital property
- Who will pay spousal support in a divorce
- How much spousal support will be paid and for how long
- How much debt each party brought from before the marriage
- Whether one spouse will provide for the other spouse’s children from a prior relationship in the event of death or divorce
Couples can also state their preferences regarding child custody, visitation, and support when they work out postnuptial agreements. However, although these preferences may be considered, family law judges are primarily concerned with the best interests of the child when ordering support, custody, or visitation.
Is a Postnuptial Agreement Valid in New York?
Yes, postnuptial agreements are generally considered valid in New York. However, to ensure postnuptial agreements will be enforceable in court, couples must prepare them in accordance with state requirements.
Under New York law, a postnuptial agreement is valid as long as:
- The agreement is in writing – Postnuptial agreements are only enforceable if they are recorded in writing. Casual or verbal agreements don’t count.
- The agreement is signed by both parties – Each spouse must willingly and knowingly sign the written agreement before a notary public. A postnuptial agreement is not valid if it involved fraud or coercion.
- The agreement is transparent – Both spouses must fully disclose their various assets and debts to one another during the process of creating the agreement. The terms of the agreement must be transparent and fair to both parties, and both spouses must obtain legal representation for the process.
How a New York Family Law Attorney Can Help
If you and your spouse are considering a postnuptial agreement, you should both work with a separate attorney who can advocate for your individual interests. If one spouse does not work with a lawyer, the other party can legitimately claim the postnuptial agreement is unfair before a New York court of law.
With the help of an experienced family law attorney, you can ensure that your separate and marital property will be handled the way you want in the event of divorce. Your attorney can help you prepare a thorough and valid postnuptial agreement that does exactly what you intend.
Contact The Mandel Law Firm Today
At The Mandel Law Firm, our dedicated New York postnuptial agreement attorneys can guide you every step of the way as you prepare a legally sound postnuptial agreement with your spouse. Call us at (646) 770-3868 or contact us online today for an initial consultation where we’ll review how we can best support you and meet your needs.