A marriage is a legally recognized relationship that confers both rights and responsibilities. Because of the legal nature of a marriage, many couples adopt contracts related to the division of their property or other legal issues should the marriage dissolve. These are known as marital agreements.
Marital agreements fall into three broad categories: prenuptial, postnuptial, and separation agreements. However, the process of drafting a contract that complies with the law can be challenging without the guidance of a Manhattan marital agreements lawyer. A skilled family law attorney could help you evaluate your needs and tailor a marital agreement to your needs.
A prenuptial agreement is a signed, written document executed by both spouses prior to a marriage taking place. Most prenups focus on two major issues: property division and spousal support. These agreements are especially common in marriages where one spouse has substantially more assets than the other. A prenup could set out an agreement over how property is divided and the amount of alimony that is to be paid.
This level of certainty is helpful to many couples, given that Manhattan is within a community property state. In a community property state, all marital property is generally split evenly between the two spouses upon divorce. If the bulk of a couple’s income is likely to come from one source, that individual might seek to protect their earnings with a prenuptial agreement.
It is also important to remember that not all prenuptial agreements will be accepted by the court. Like any contract, both parties must enter into a prenuptial agreement freely and with a full understanding of the circumstances. This means a spouse that signs a prenuptial agreement under duress or without a full accounting of their spouses’ assets might be able to challenge the document in court. A marital agreements attorney in Manhattan could help ensure a contract is accepted by the courts.
Not all marital agreements occur before the marriage. A postnuptial agreement is one that is executed during the course of a marriage. Like prenuptial agreements, they typically deal with the division of assets and the possibility of alimony. However, their purpose can differ from prenups.
For example, many couples enter into postnuptial agreements when one spouse runs up substantial debt during the course of the marriage. A postnuptial agreement could help ensure the other spouse is not burdened with that debt upon divorce.
Other marital agreements are not directly related to divorce at all. A couple that is either considering divorce or testing the waters for dissolution could agree to a separation. A separation agreement is helpful in these situations as it could set out the terms of any spousal support that is necessary during the course of the separation. If a couple chooses to reconcile, they could cancel the separation agreement with the help of a marital agreement attorney in their area.
Talk to a Manhattan Marital Agreements Attorney Today
The subject of marital agreements can be uncomfortable for many spouses or engaged couples. However, a frank discussion about financial issues is usually easier to address upfront than waiting until problems arise.
If you are considering a marital agreement, your attorney could help ensure it is properly executed and complies with the law. Reach out to a Manhattan marital agreements lawyer to learn more.