What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A Prenuptial Agreement (Prenup) is a contract that sets in advance how certain items will be resolved if your marriage ends in divorce. The Prenup overrides the divorce laws. In essence, you are creating your own ‘laws’ just for you.
Does the Prenup Cover All Issues?
No. A Prenup can cover just about anything related to money such as alimony or how property or other finances will be divided or not divided. It cannot, however, cover any issues affecting a child of the marriage, such as custody, visitation and child support.
Are All Prenups Valid?
No. Currently, in New York State a Prenup will only be recognized by the Courts if it meets three criteria:
Both spouses must make full financial disclosure to each other of their income, assets, property, debts and expenses.
- Both spouses must be represented by their own independent lawyers.
- It must be signed no closer than ninety (90) days before the wedding.
- If these three criteria are met, then so long as the Agreement is not ridiculously unfair to one spouse, then it is likely to stand up in Court if it is challenged during a divorce.
What If I Have Met Two of the Three Requirements?
Courts are currently very stringent on the financial disclosure and separate attorneys factors, but are less strict on the ninety (90) day waiting period.
How Do I Bring the Subject up to My Fiancé?
Very gently! Any mention of doing a Prenuptial agreement can lead to a big series of arguments. So don’t just blurt it out. Think it through and have a thorough, kind explanation ready as to why you feel you need one. I suggest that you begin by making it clear that you intend to live happily ever after with your finance and have zero expectations that the marriage will ever fail.