6 Myths About Long Island Prenuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements are one of the most commonly misunderstood family legal documents. Here are six myths about prenups, debunked, and where to get help from an experienced Long Island family lawyer.
#1. Prenuptial Agreements Are Iron Clad
The Myth: Once signed, a prenup is iron-clad and its terms cannot be changed.
The Truth: A prenuptial agreement may not be considered valid if one spouse was made to sign it under duress or if one spouse coerced the other by misrepresenting the terms of the agreement. A couple can also mutually decide to nullify or disregard a prenup, or to modify its terms. A court may deem a prenuptial agreement unconscionable if the terms are significantly unfair to one spouse over the other.
#2. If You Didn’t Get a Prenuptial Agreement Before the Wedding, It’s Too Late
The Myth: Once a marriage has taken place, you can no longer get a prenuptial agreement, even if both you and your spouse agree.
The Truth: You won’t be able to get a prenuptial agreement, but you can get a postnuptial agreement, which essentially serves the same purpose. Prenups and postnups are treated equally and one is as legally binding as the other; the primary difference between them is that one simply takes place prior to a marriage and the other takes place after.
#3. You Only Need a Prenuptial Agreement If You Have Assets
The Myth: If you and your spouse do not have assets when you get married, you don’t need to sign a prenuptial agreement.
The Truth: A prenup doesn’t just cover assets and how they will be divided between you and your spouse in the event you get a divorce. It can dictate other terms of a dissolution of marriage, such as alimony. For example, even if you and your spouse do not own property when you get married, you can draft and sign a prenuptial agreement that allows the lesser earning spouse to collect spousal support for a period of time based on the length of the marriage.
You can also include marital responsibilities in your prenup or postnup, such as who will primarily be responsible for maintaining the marital home, who will be the primary wage earner, or if these will be divided equally.
#4. A Prenup Only Protects the Spouse with Assets
The Myth: A prenuptial agreement only offers protection for the spouse that has the most assets.
The Truth: While a prenup does protect someone coming into a marriage with significant assets, it can also be used to ensure the lesser earning spouse is fairly compensated in a divorce. While some things, like child custody and child support, can’t be written into your prenup, the terms are largely decided by you and your spouse.
#5. Prenups Are Only for Couples Who Don’t Really Love Each Other
The Myth: If your spouse suggests signing a prenuptial agreement, it means they don’t actually care about you and are planning to get a divorce at some point in the future.
The Truth: Statistically, roughly half of all marriages end in divorce. While you are not be planning on it, the reality is that it could happen. If it does, a prenuptial agreement can help protect you. If you don’t have a prenup or postnup in place and get a divorce, you could be at risk of compromising your access to assets and support that rightfully belongs to you.
#6. You Don’t Need an Attorney to Get a Prenuptial Agreement
The Myth: You can use online software to draw up your own prenuptial agreement.
The Truth: A New York court may not honor a poorly written, DIY prenup. Or, your spouse may attempt to use this as an arguing point as to why your prenup should be considered invalid. To protect your best interests when signing a legal agreement as important as a prenup, you should consult with an experienced attorney.
Contact Hornberger Verbitsky, PC Today for Help with Your Prenuptial Agreement
The divorce and family law Firm of Hornberger Verbitsky, PC is committed to providing Long Island residents with comprehensive, compassionate legal help for all family law issues, including divorce, prenup and postnuptial agreements, child custody, child support, alimony, and more. Call today for your consultation at 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form on this page.
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