Prenuptial Agreements

When a couple is getting married, it often comes with a lot of excitement. However, it is important to not forget the legal consequences that may follow after a marriage. A well-crafted prenuptial agreement states each person’s rights if a marriage is terminated.




What Are Prenuptial Agreements?

A prenuptial agreement, commonly referred to as a “prenup”, is a legally binding document that a couple signs before getting married. The document outlines the distribution of assets and liabilities in the event of a divorce, dismemberment, or death. Although prenuptial agreements were once associated with wealthy individuals, they are becoming increasingly popular among couples of all income levels.


A prenuptial agreement aims to protect both parties’ interests by clearly defining each spouse’s rights and responsibilities in the event of divorce, dismemberment, or death.  It will therefore cover various issues, such as property division, spousal maintenance, and inheritance rights. 


At the beginning of the process, each partner will list their separate property, any debts they may have, and their expectations for the division of property and spousal support in case of a divorce. The agreement can also include provisions for who gets to keep certain assets, such as a family business, in the event of a divorce. It can also outline who will be responsible for paying certain debts, such as credit card debt or student loans.


One of the primary benefits to prenuptial agreements is that they can help to avoid lengthy and costly legal battles in the event of a divorce. Couples can avoid the uncertainty and stress often accompanying divorce proceedings by establishing clear guidelines for property division and spousal support before a divorce is even commenced.


It is important that a prenuptial agreement is not seen as a sign of distrust or lack of commitment. Instead, it is a practical and responsible way for couples to protect their interests and plan for the future. 




What Should a Prenuptial Agreement Include?

A prenuptial agreement should include specific provisions that address the couple’s unique financial circumstances and needs. Below are some of the essential details that a prenuptial agreement should include.


Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities

Both parties must fully disclose all of their assets and liabilities to ensure that the prenuptial agreement is enforceable. This includes real estate, bank accounts, investment accounts, stocks, and debts. It is crucial to provide an accurate picture of each party’s financial situation so that the prenuptial agreement can be negotiated and drafted fairly.



Property Division

A prenuptial agreement should specify how property will be divided in the event of a divorce. It can include separate property, such as assets and debts that each party brought into the marriage. It can also include marital property, such as assets and debt acquired during the marriage. The agreement should also address how any increase in the value of separate property will be shared.



Spousal Support

A prenuptial agreement can also establish the terms of spousal support, also known as maintenance, in the case of a divorce. This provision can specify the amount, duration, and frequency of spousal support payments and whether or not it is modifiable.



Inheritance Rights

A prenuptial agreement outlines each spouse’s inheritance rights in the event of the other spouse’s death. This provision can specify how the estate will be divided and whether any property or assets will be given to children from a previous marriage.




Business Ownership

If either party owns a business or plans to start one, a prenuptial agreement can establish how the company will be held, operated, and valued in the event of a divorce.



Debts and Liabilities

A prenuptial agreement should also address how debts and liabilities will be handled during a divorce. Such debts include credit card debt, student loans, mortgages, etc. The contract will specify which party will be responsible for each debt or how debts will be divided between the two parties.



Legal Fees

The prenuptial agreement can also address legal fees and expenses in case of a divorce. This provision can specify whether each party will be responsible for their fees or if one party will be required to pay the other’s legal fees.



Dispute Resolution

A prenuptial agreement can also establish how any disputes arising from the contract will be resolved.



What are the Benefits of Having a Prenuptial Agreement?

While many people associate prenuptial agreements with a negative connotation, there are many positives to a prenup:

  1. Protection of assets
  2. Protection of business interests
  3. Financial planning
  4. Protection against debt
  5. Simplify divorce proceedings
  6. Protection of inheritance
  7. protection of personal property
  8. Clarification of financial responsibilities
  9. Plan for spousal support
  10. Promotes open communication

While it is understandable to have mixed feelings about a prenuptial agreement, it is imperative to understand the upsides to these powerful legal contracts.



Why Should I Hire a Prenuptial Agreements Lawyer?

Prenuptial agreements are important documents. It is important that before you sign off on one, you fully understand everything it contains. Creating a legally binding contract with such intricacies as a prenup requires the legal expertise of an experienced divorce and family law attorney. 

To ensure peace of mind, contact Douglas Family Law Group today at 914.615.9058 to set up your initial consultation. Our attorneys are highly experienced at prenuptial agreements and are ready to protect you and your future.




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White Plains, New York


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