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What Can & Can’t Be In a Long Island Prenup?

by | Oct 30, 2018 | divorce, divorce lawyer long island ny, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Lawyer, marital property, News and Events

Although getting married is an exciting and romantic time for a Long Island couple, there are a few things that need to be in order first — and we’re not talking about the wedding decorations. A prenuptial agreement is an important document that addresses the property rights and assets of each individual should they get a divorce at some point in the future. Some people say that true love doesn’t need a prenup, but nothing could be further from the truth. A prenuptial agreement is essential for all New York marriages. Before you draft your prenup, understand what can — and should — be included, and what you can’t list on this type of legal agreement.

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What You Can Include in a Long Island Prenup

A prenuptial agreement allows you and your future spouse to fully disclose your financial standing prior to the marriage, defines what you’re bringing into the marriage regarding assets, and what you will leave with should you divorce. A few things that can be included in your prenuptial agreement are:

  • Assets that are your own, such as an inheritance or a home that you owned prior to the marriage, that will not be subject to equitable distribution upon divorcing
  • Alimony or spousal support agreements that define the terms of payments, including how much, under what circumstances, and for how long
  • Community property and assets that were accumulated during the marriage and owned by both you and your spouse
  • Business assets and how they will be divided between you and your spouse
  • Most financially based negotiations

What You Can’t Include

Although a prenuptial agreement is designed to protect you financially in the event of a divorce, there are several things that cannot be included — even when they relate to finances.

Child Support, Visitation, and Custody

Anything related to the custody, visitation, and support of your children or future children cannot be included in your prenuptial agreement. Although child support is a monetary-based agreement, New York courts decide at the time of the divorce who the primary custodian of the children is, who is responsible for paying child support, and how much child support will be paid. The minimum amount of child support cannot be negotiated in a prenuptial agreement.

Terms Not Based on Finances

Terms that are not monetarily-based also cannot be included in a Long Island prenuptial agreement. For example, your prenuptial agreement cannot stipulate the frequency of intimate relations, housework duties, physical appearance, or whose family gets a visit on Thanksgiving and Christmas. In some cases, Long Island courts will simply ignore these particular terms, and in other cases, courts will rule that terms like these render the entire prenuptial agreement invalid.

Unfair Terms

Although a prenup is a legally binding document, a court may render it invalid if any of the terms are considered deceitful, unfair, or unjust. You should have your own Long Island divorce attorney review the proposed prenup before signing to ensure it doesn’t contain terms that would be considered unfair for you. For example, if you are a homemaker by mutual decision of you and your spouse, and your prenup only contains provisions for your spouse who actually earned monetary assets without regard to how you worked to benefit the family, this may be considered unfair.

Verbal Agreements

A Long Island prenuptial agreement is never considered valid unless it is in writing and signed by both spouses. Verbal agreements are invalid in the state of New York, and any agreement made with your spouse verbally without documentation is not enforceable should the marriage end in divorce. If you and your spouse have agreed to something, make sure it’s in writing.

Is Your Long Island, NY Prenup Up to Snuff?

Before you sign on the dotted line and say “I do”, you need to be confident that your rights and financial needs are protected. Our Long Island Divorce and Family law firm can review your prenuptial agreement and help negotiate terms that are fair and in your best interest. Call our office today at 631-923-1910 or fill out our quick online form for a free consultation with one of our experienced Long Island prenuptial agreement lawyers.

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