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How To Safeguard Your Assets Before And During Marriage With Marital Agreements

How to Safeguard Your Assets Before and During Marriage With Marital Agreements

Marriage is a beautiful journey that many embark on with hopes of a lifetime of happiness. However, alongside the emotional commitment, it’s crucial to consider the practical and legal aspects of marriage, particularly when it comes to protecting your assets. Marital agreements play a significant role in safeguarding your financial well-being before and during marriage. Whether you are a business owner, entering a second marriage, or possess significant assets, understanding and utilizing marital agreements can provide peace of mind and security. In this blog post, we will delve into the importance of marital agreements, the types available under New York law, and guide you through the process of creating and enforcing them.

What is a Marital Agreement?

A marital agreement is a legal contract between spouses or prospective spouses that outlines the division and ownership of assets in the event of divorce or death. These agreements help prevent disputes, ensuring a clear and fair distribution of assets according to the terms agreed upon by both parties.

Types of Marital Agreements

Under New York law, there are primarily three types of marital agreements:

  1. Prenuptial Agreements: These are agreements entered into before marriage. They outline how assets and debts will be handled during the marriage and in the event of a divorce.
  2. Postnuptial Agreements: These are similar to prenuptial agreements but are created after the marriage has taken place. They can address new circumstances or changes that arise during the marriage.
  3. Separation Agreements: These agreements are made when a couple decides to live separately but remain legally married. They detail the terms of separation, including asset division, child custody, and support arrangements.

When to Consider a Marital Agreement

Marital agreements are not just for the wealthy or those with complex financial situations. Here are some scenarios where a marital agreement can be particularly beneficial:

  • Business Owners: Protecting business interests and ensuring that the business remains intact and operational, regardless of marital changes.
  • Second Marriages: Providing clarity and security, especially when children from previous relationships are involved.
  • Significant Assets: Safeguarding inherited wealth, real estate, investments, or other substantial assets.
  • Debt Protection: Ensuring that premarital debts do not become a shared burden.
  • Estate Planning: Clarifying intentions regarding the distribution of assets upon death.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Creating a marital agreement is complex, and avoiding common mistakes is crucial. One significant error is the lack of full disclosure; failing to fully disclose assets and debts can render the agreement invalid. Additionally, agreements with unfair terms that heavily favor one party may not hold up in court. It is essential to ensure that the agreement is signed and witnessed according to legal requirements to avoid improper execution. Both parties must enter the agreement voluntarily, as any signs of coercion can invalidate it. Lastly, regularly reviewing and updating the agreement to reflect changes in circumstances is necessary to maintain its relevance and fairness.

Enforcing and Updating Marital Agreements

A well-drafted marital agreement offers clarity and security in a marriage, but understanding the conditions for its enforcement or challenges is crucial. Courts enforce marital agreements that are fair, fully disclosed, and properly executed. However, these agreements can be challenged on grounds such as fraud, coercion, unfair terms, or lack of full disclosure. Life changes, such as the birth of children, changes in financial status, or relocation, may necessitate updates to the agreement. Regular reviews are essential to ensure that the agreement remains relevant and fair over time.


Marital agreements are powerful tools for protecting your assets and ensuring peace of mind before and during marriage. By understanding the importance of these agreements, knowing when to consider them, and following the proper steps to create and enforce them, you can safeguard your financial future. Seeking the guidance of an experienced marital agreement lawyer is crucial to drafting a robust and legally sound agreement.

If you are considering a marital agreement or need assistance in drafting one, consult with The Mandel Law Firm, a trusted marital agreement lawyer in New York City. Our experienced team is here to provide expert guidance and support. Call us today at (646) 770-3868 to schedule your consultation and take the first step toward securing your assets and future.

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