A prenuptial agreement, also called a “prenup,” is a contract agreed to between future spouses before marriage that usually concerns how divorces will be handled, how property will be distributed upon the death of a spouse, and other issues. There are certain situations in which people in New York and elsewhere should consider negotiating a prenup.
Disparities in Wealth
The classic situation in which spouses-to-be often negotiate a prenup is when there are differences in the salaries or wealth of the parties. Wealthier individuals may be concerned that a spouse is interested in marriage for a financial windfall. A prenup may help a spouse keep their wealth if the spouses are ever divorced and helps ensure that spouses are not getting married simply for money.
When one or more of the spouses-to-be has children from a prior union, a prenup may be necessary. This is because a spouse may be concerned that a stepparent may not look after children that are not biologically their own. In addition, prenups can sometimes discuss who will bear financial responsibilities for prior children, how children will be raised, and a variety of other considerations.
Estate Planning Issues
By default, spouses are often entitled to a portion of a person's estate after they pass away. However, in some situations, people may wish to have more control over who receives their assets after they pass on. A prenup can give parties more control to carry out their estate wishes.
Spouses-to-be sometimes have substantial amounts of debt or other obligations prior to entering a marriage. This includes student debt, alimony, and other obligations, and prenups can specify that one spouse shall be responsible to repay such debt.
If any of these circumstances apply to your situation, it may make sense to speak with an attorney as you work to preserve your rights in divorce.