Amidst the important decisions that New York couples must make when preparing to marry is the not-so-romantic choice of whether the partners should draft a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement, also called a prenup, is a contract that stipulates what property is under the separate ownership of the soon-to-be married partners, how their shared property should be divided if they divorce and other financial issues that could complicate their separation if their marriage does not last.
Prenups cannot be used to make any custody decisions since courts must ensure that the best interests of the children are protected when such matters are negotiated. Prenups can, though, help couples talk out their concerns about money and property before they are legally bound to each other through marriage.
Prenuptial agreements can be beneficial to practically all couples, but certain individuals may particularly benefit from having a prenup in place before they wed their loved ones. Individuals who earn high incomes, who own real estate, who hold significant assets prior to their marriages, who have children from another relationship or who have intended estate beneficiaries other than their soon-to-be spouses may wish to execute a prenuptial agreement to ensure that their wealth and testamentary intentions are honored.
The downside of a prenup is that in requires unmarried couples to contemplate something that no engaged couple wants to consider: the possibility that their union will fail and that the partners will wish to divorce. It is not romantic, but if the couple's marriage does not last, a prenuptial agreement can help facilitate their divorce by having important property and financial matters already decided upon. Couples who want to learn more about whether prenuptial agreements may benefit them can discuss their concerns with their family law legal representatives.