Nuptial Agreements for Second Marriages

Studies show up to 50 percent of first marriages, 67 percent of second marriages, and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce. There are countless theories to explain why the chances of divorce are greater for subsequent marriages, but the statistics speak for themselves. Anyone entering a marriage for the second or third time (or more) seriously should consider taking steps to avoid the possibility of a nasty divorce in the future.

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is a written agreement signed by a couple either before getting married or after they’ve said their vows. The purpose of the agreement is to predefine the terms of a breakup if the marriage fails.

Not just for the wealthy

A common misperception is that nuptial agreements are only for the very rich and famous. The fact of the matter is that nuptial agreements can protect assets and keep the peace, regardless of your age or the size of your estate.

You may have a business you’ve worked your whole life to build. You may be expecting an inheritance or have a home or other assets to protect for the benefit of children from your first marriage. These concerns can be effectively addressed in a nuptial agreement.

Postnuptial agreements can be just as effective as prenuptial agreements

As seen in Kipnis v. Kipnis, New York law provides that nuptial agreements must by duly executed and represent a bargained-for exchange between parties with knowledge of the relevant facts and circumstances. Parties to a nuptial agreement may either:

  1. Expressly waive or opt out of the statutory scheme governing equitable distribution, or
  2. Specifically designate as separate property assets that ordinarily would be defined as marital property subject to equitable distribution

Properly drafted and executed postnuptial agreements are routinely enforced in New York courts under similar principles. Contact a skilled divorce attorney with knowledge of the state's laws to decide if a nuptial agreement can protect your assets.  By: Lauren B. Abramson

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