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Prenuptial Agreements

A lawyer for a prenuptial agreement, or “prenup”, assists clients in writing a contract before they marry.
If partners do not have a prenuptial agreement, the laws in New York State will determine who owns the property that you acquire during your marriage, and what will happen to that property upon divorce or death. Certain laws may even have a say in what happens to some property owned before you were married.

Do I Really Need a Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenuptial agreements are not just for the wealthy. They are also a good tool for couples of modest means. And prenups can be particularly useful for second marriages, or marriages with significant age differences. Prenups are increasingly viewed as a way to foster trust between couples and to have open financial communication between parties. If a couple struggles with financial planning before marriage, it might be even more difficult to surmount the financial challenges a marriage can bring.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement typically lists all of the property each party owns, as well as any debts they may have, and specifies what each person’s property rights will be after their marriage. Having such an agreement removes the fear and uncertainty of what will happen to your property should you divorce, or upon your death. A prenup allows a party to:

protect family heirlooms;


pass property to children from a prior marriage or relationship;


clarify each party’s financial rights and responsibilities;


provide debt protection;


avoid emotional arguments should a divorce occur.

How is a Prenup Relevant if I Die?

In New York State, a surviving spouse is entitled to one-third of their spouse’s estate, even if the property is separate property or the deceased spouse’s will designates otherwise. For couples with children from prior marriages or relationships, or couples with assets they wish to leave to other family members, a prenup can state what will happen to their property when they die. A prenup allows them to pass on separate property to children or other family members and still provide for the surviving spouse.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Prenuptial Agreement?

While there may be prenuptial forms available on the internet, it is still recommended you speak with an attorney. The couple needs to know their agreement is consistent with New York State law. If an agreement is unclear, incomplete, unfair, or doesn’t follow certain required formalities, a judge may not enforce it. The cost savings of having drafted your own agreement could be completely erased if your agreement is not enforceable.

How Can Rochford Law and Mediation Help You?

Contact Rochford Law and Mediation today