Important facts about prenuptial agreements in New York

While prenuptial agreements used to exist only in the circles of the very famous and wealthy, a growing number of married couples consider a prenuptial agreement an important way to prepare for marriage. When written well, these agreements can help you avoid contentious and financially devastating divorce proceedings.

Growth in popularity

A poll conducted by Harris Interactive found that nearly 40% of engaged or married couples under the age of 34 signed a prenuptial agreement. This figure includes people from a variety of financial and professional backgrounds. When you ask for a prenup, keep in mind that many other couples consider this step to be a perfectly normal step in the marriage process.

Creating a legally binding agreement

Spouses often decide to contest prenuptial agreements. If you exercise caution in drafting the agreement and take steps to ensure that it remains legally binding, the prenup will continue to protect you. Otherwise, the court may deem the prenup invalid and subject your finances to the distribution that they deem fair.

The steps that may help ensure that your prenup remains valid include:

• Discuss your finances honestly with your future spouse.

• Fully disclose any assets and debts.

• Discuss purchasing procedures for future assets.

• Consider the division of joint property if you get divorced.

• Make provisions for assets obtained before, during and after your marriage.

Child custody concerns

Many couples want to include child custody arrangements in their prenuptial agreements. But unless your child is alive when you draft the agreement, New York forbids child custody arrangements in a prenup.

Protect yourself from the worst-case scenario

While you may want to believe that nothing could shake the love you have for your spouse, you should also consider that few people plan on getting divorced at the start of their marriage. A prenuptial agreement may intimidate or embarrass you, but a well-drafted agreement protects the financial futures of both you and your spouse.