Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements

Law and Mediation Office of ToniAnn Grande

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement (also known as a “prenup”) is a private contract entered into by a couple contemplating marriage. Typically, a prenup spells out the couple’s agreement concerning the division of property and their expectations of support in the event of a divorce or the death of a spouse. The prenup process gives the couple an opportunity to communicate about these important issues before the marriage, giving each of them a clear understanding of how their marriage will work financially.

What Can a Prenup Do for Me?

Some benefits of entering into a prenup include:

  • Determining in advance who will get which assets in the event of a divorce. A prenup can protect assets, such as businesses, professional practices, and real estate, which might otherwise be divided upon divorce.
  • Protecting the inheritance rights of your children and other heirs from prior marriages.
  • Determining the amount and duration of support that you or your spouse will receive post-divorce.
  • Ensuring that, if there is a divorce, it will be simple, predictable and fair.
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What Is The Prenup Process Like?

At the Law Offices of ToniAnn Grande, we treat every prenup negotiation as a collaboration between two people who are in love and eager to chart the course of their lives together. By having open and honest conversations about their financial goals and expectations, couples can gain a deeper understanding of each other, and actually strengthen their relationship.

If you think a prenup is right for you, you should open a dialogue with your partner as far ahead of the wedding as possible. Your fiancé(e) should have adequate time to get advice from an attorney and consider and discuss what terms are important for him or her to have in the prenup. Once the two of you have agreed on terms, your attorneys will create a written contract that reflects your understanding.

Law and Mediation Office of ToniAnn Grande

Although no two prenups are exactly alike, every successful prenup has the following things in common:

  • It must contain full and complete disclosure of financial information.
  • It must be signed and notarized with all of the formalities required by New York law.
  • Both parties must have sufficient time to review and contribute to the agreement, preferably with the assistance of counsel.
  • It must not be one-sided or unfair.

Working with an experienced family law attorney can help you clarify your needs and objectives and make sure they are reflected in a document that is clearly drafted and that will hold up in court if necessary.

My Fiancé(e) Has Asked Me to Sign a Prenup. What Should I Do?

The first thing to do is hire an experienced family law attorney to review the proposed agreement and explain the terms to you in detail. A prenup may be the most important document you ever sign, so you should not enter into it lightly or rush to sign it without a full understanding of how it will impact you if the marriage ends.

Keep an open mind when reviewing the proposed agreement and be sure to communicate with your fiancé(e) about any terms that make you uncomfortable. Your attorney may seek to modify the proposed agreement to delete terms that are “deal-breakers” or to include new terms that are important to you. You should never sign an unfavorable prenup because of pressure from your future spouse. A prenup should be a product of collaboration and compromise, not pressure and intimidation.

Can I Get a Prenup if I Am Already Married?

You can’t get a prenup after you are married, but you and your spouse can enter into a postnuptial agreement that addresses many of the same issues. As with a prenup, open and honest communication and thorough financial disclosure are critical to the process. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement, give us a call. We are here to help.