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Premarital and Postnuptial Agreements

First Comes Loves, Then Comes Prenup

Antenuptial agreements, commonly known as prenups, are legal documents that outline how engaged couples will divide their assets in the event of a future divorce. A postnuptial agreement is essentially the same type of agreement, except that it happens after the marriage has already taken place. 

For whatever reason, Millennials and the younger generation are marrying later than previous generations. That means couples enter into a marriage with years to build up assets or debt on their own.

Your parents, who may have gotten married between the ages of 18-23, likely did not accumulate assets before the marriage so there was little need for a prenup. But couples who are getting married in their early to mid 30's, a different approach likely warrants consideration.

Also, with more women in today's workforce, women more than ever are the breadwinners in the relationship or make up at least 50% of the household income.

Is a prenup right for you?

Though the antenuptial agreement can be seen as a contract only to be used in the case of a failed marriage, in the end having such a document in place is a smart business move.

A marriage is not just a romantic relationship. It is a financial relationship, a legal relationship, and a business relationship.

You may want a prenup if you:

  • Own real property or your own business;

  • Are entering a second marriage or have children from a previous relationship;

  • Are going to take time off from your career to care for children at home; 

  • Hold significant student loan debt;

  • Have accumulated significant retirement assets;

  • Work for a company where it is possible you will receive stock options. 

How to get started

First and foremost, it is important to have open and honest communication with your partner well before your planned marriage. A year before getting married or a few months before an anticipated engagement is a good time to have that talk with your partner. This is to avoid a situation where you spring a prenup agreement on your partner on the eve of your wedding (or close to a wedding date) and your partner feels pressured that they have to sign the agreement.

Next, in New York if you want the agreement to have the best possible chance at being upheld in the future; both you and your partner should each retain their own individual independent attorney.

A couple who gets divorced after 20 years of marriage could have accumulated a million dollars or more in retirement assets and real property. In the grand scheme of things, the cost for an attorney early in the relationship to prepare a premarital agreement is the equivalent of a speeding ticket. 

If you and your partner are considering a premarital agreement to protect your assets in the case of a future divorce, please do not hesitate to contact us for an initial consultation. 

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Arnold A. Arpino & Associates, P.C., is a full service law firm that represents individuals and businesses in a variety of different practice areas. Our firm regularly appears in the Courts throughout Long Island, New York City, and the Hudson Valley.