Prenuptial Agreement

A Most Affordable Prenuptial Agreement

The inspiration for my recent article entitled “The Most Affordable Divorce,” was a recent matter in which I was hired by a couple, very much in love, to serve as their mediator to help them negotiate a Prenuptial Agreement.

The bride was young and financially middle class, and the groom was older and a high net worth individual. What made this matter most compelling was that in 2017, each party had hired his/her own high priced, aggressive lawyer, and the negotiation became so adversarial that the Prenuptial Agreement was never finalized and executed, and the couple called off their marriage and split up!
Fortunately, love triumphed, the couple got back together and resumed the negotiation of their prenuptial agreement keeping lawyers out of it.

A few more facts are important to shed light on this couple’s situation and concerns. The groom had a net worth in excess of $35,000,000, annual income in excess of one million dollars, and a very successful business known to most people where this couple lived. The groom was also married and divorced twice before, and had spent a fortune on legal fees in his prior divorces. As a result of this and the bad experience this couple […]

New York Divorce: Choose Your Divorce Lawyer Carefully

Are you a New York State resident considering a divorce? Buyer beware! As mentioned in my last blog, if your divorce is not a genuine emergency, avoid the Charon-like* divorce lawyer who will unnecessarily subject you to the tortures of the damned at your great expense.

The good news is that there are other New York divorce lawyers who take a different approach. At the initial consultation, they will explain all of the divorce process choices including mediation and collaborative law.

Instead of unnecessarily rushing off to divorce court, these peacemakers will help you make an out of court divorce settlement consistent with your reasonable needs and interests, and those of your children and spouse. Not only will such a divorce settlement save you tons of money, it will also greatly increase your chances of having a good aftermath to your divorce, which could be a priceless benefit. Think about this: how important is it for your children to know their parents do not hate each other when they attend graduations, weddings and births of grandchildren in the decades to come? How important is this for you?

Besides settling your divorce, a mediator or collaborative […]

Why do a Prenuptial Agreement: Part 2

Prenuptial agreements typically address issues that would, otherwise, be decided by a judge in divorce court. Agreements can settle one or more of the following subjects:

  • how assets (and debts) will be distributed during the marriage, and/or in the event of a death or a divorce
  • each spouse’s entitlement to maintenance (i.e. alimony), including the amount and period of time of an alimony award
  • each spouse’s right to property (whether owned individually or as a couple)
  • each spouse’s right to buy, lease, sell, transfer or otherwise control property
  • each spouse’s rights and responsibility in a family business
  • each spouse’s right to death benefits from the other’s life insurance policy
  • the state law which governs the agreement, or
  • any other issue the couple agrees upon.

Couples have a good deal of freedom in creating prenuptial agreements. There are, however, some issues that a “pre-nup” cannot cover. For example, an agreement cannot require a spouse to commit a crime or prevent a spouse from pressing criminal charges, such as a domestic violence charge.

Prenuptial agreements in New York can address some issues regarding the education, support and care of children. That said, a judge will make the final decision on child custody and support based on the best interests of the […]

Why do a Prenuptial Agreement? Part 1

Many engaged couples use prenuptial agreements. Rather than a sure path to divorce, a prenuptial agreement can help a couple communicate about finances and child-rearing thereby preventing some arguments during the marriage.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract between future spouses that settles issues of property and support in the event of death or divorce. In New York, a prenuptial agreement is made before the marriage and will take effect on the date of the marriage.

“Prenups” must be in writing and signed by both future spouses and duly acknowledged before a notary public. (An oral prenup or an unsigned agreement won’t be upheld in court.)

Who Should Get a Prenuptial Agreement?
The rich and famous aren’t the only ones who need prenups. A single parent might want a prenup to protect her child’s inheritance. In some circumstances, a spouse may want to keep a family home or a business separate. For example, I did a prenup for an individual whose parent would transfer the family business to him, only if he entered a prenuptial agreement that protected the business in the event of a divorce.

Without a prenup, a couple’s property will be divided in accordance with state law upon the death […]

Affordable Divorce: Make a Prenuptial Agreement

Do you want to avoid paying a divorce lawyer in the future tens – maybe hundreds – of thousands of dollars? Consider making a prenuptial (before the marriage) or post-nuptial (after the marriage) agreement. The legal fees for such an agreement are a very small fraction of the legal fees that would be generated by a case in divorce court.

No one should enter a marriage without making a whole-hearted commitment. Nevertheless, the reality is that almost half of marriages end in divorce. So, say “I do” with a sincere, heartfelt commitment, but – at the same time – be realistic and prepare for the possibility of a divorce.

An iron clad prenuptial agreement can resolve all division of property issues as well as alimony/maintenance issues that would arise in the event of a divorce. The only unresolved issues could be child support and other issues related to children born after the marriage.

Moreover, the process of talking through the “prenup” can give you and your partner an understanding of each others’ values and needs. Similarly, if financial circumstances change or financial concerns arise during the marriage, a post-nuptial agreement can be a valuable process for better understanding […]