Attorney Drafts Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

White Plains firm helps protect your future

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements spell out what happens when a marriage ends because of divorce or the death of a spouse. The agreements can address financial issues such as alimony, life insurance, trusts and the division of marital property. Prenuptial agreements, also called antenuptial agreements, are signed before the wedding. Postnuptial agreements are signed during the marriage.

Marital agreements aren’t just for the wealthy. They are used by pragmatic adults of all income levels who wish to minimize risk. With more than 25 years’ experience, Lauren B. Abramson, Esq. creates the appropriate marital contracts to give you peace of mind.

What can be covered in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement?

New York is one of 23 states that have not adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. Instead, New York’s Domestic Relations Law (DRL), enacted in 1980, governs what issues can be addressed in a marital agreement. Under the DRL, the subject matter of such agreements can include:

  • Provision for the ownership, division or distribution of separate and marital property
  • Provision for the amount and duration of alimony or other terms of the marriage relationship, provided that such terms were fair and reasonable at the time of the making of the agreement and are not unconscionable at the time of entry of final judgment
  • A contract to make a distribution upon death, or a waiver of any right to under the provisions of a will
  • Provision for custody, care, education and maintenance of any child of the parties

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements for same-sex couples

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements offer the same protections to same-sex couples as to opposite-sex couples in New York. However, same-sex marriages are not recognized in all 50 states. If a same-sex couple married in New York moves to a state that does not recognize the marriage, a marital agreement becomes particularly important because it is generally enforceable under contract law, regardless of the state’s position on same-sex marriage. The law offices of Lauren B. Abramson can create an agreement that protects your interests, wherever you might end up living.

Why do I need a prenup or a postnup?

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is a prudent move for anyone, but it’s particularly important if:

  • You have substantially more wealth than your partner
  • You have significantly greater income than your partner
  • You are entering a second or subsequent marriage
  • Your partner has substantial debt
  • You own a business
  • You have already created an estate plan
  • If you plan to quit your job to become a stay-at-home parent

Our White Plains family law attorney can help you determine if a marital agreement makes sense for you.

Is a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement legally binding?

New York’s Domestic Relations Law sets out three specific requirements for prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. To be enforceable in New York, a marital contract must be:

  • In writing
  • Signed by both parties
  • Acknowledged (that is, the signatures must be verified by a notary public, county clerk or any other person who is authorized to perform marriages)

A recent New York appellate court decision (Cioffi-Petrakis v. Petrakis) recently held that a prenuptial agreement is unenforceable if one party was fraudulently induced to sign it, which means the other party misrepresented or withheld important information. A court also is highly unlikely to enforce a marital contract where one of the parties was coerced into accepting the terms of the contract. Consequently, in addition to the statutory requirements, you should take the following steps to ensure that your prenuptial or postnuptial is valid:

  • Each party should make a full financial disclosure, including all income, expenses, assets and debts.
  • Each party should be independently represented by separate counsel.
  • Each party should be given sufficient time to review and consider the proposed agreement.

Contact our law firm about a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement

Lauren B. Abramson, Esq. resolves family law issues for clients throughout Westchester and Putnam counties, including White Plains, Harrison, New Rochelle, Bedford, Armonk, Bronxville, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Somers, Croton-on-Hudson, Carmel, Peekskill and Rye. Our office hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday with evening and weekend appointments available. Call us at 914-908-6829 or contact us online to arrange an appointment.