Planning for the end of a marriage during an engagement seems illogical. However, a reasonable and well-drafted prenuptial agreement can lower the tensions and expense of any divorce that occurs.
A prenup can help couples work out agreements on issues such as property division. Otherwise, a court may impose decisions on these matters under New York law.
Prenuptial agreements may be more valuable for certain couples. If one spouse has more high-value assets and real estate, the couple should consider these agreements to avoid the time and expense of determining the disposal and titling of certain property.
If one spouse also earns much more money, without a prenuptial agreement, they can seek financial stability by setting the length, amount, duration and type of spousal support. They can also determine the liquidation of student loan or credit card debt.
A prenuptial agreement is also beneficial for couples who hold long-term investments, such as retirement accounts, stock options or if they plan to invest. Business owners may seek a prenup to assure that they are not forced to surrender shares of their business to their former spouse.
Couples who are planning a family should consider these contracts. They can help assure that support is paid to a stay-at-home parent and their children if that parent must return to work after a lengthy absence.
Custody battles often erupt over the ownership of the family pet, which has the same legal status of marital property. Usually, the spouse who bought the pet will continue to own it. But, a prenup can help prevent lengthy litigation and allow visitation.
A prenuptial agreement should be negotiated and executed well before the wedding to avoid the appearance of coercion and possible invalidation by a judge. Each spouse needs to have their own attorney to advise them and review the terms of these agreements.