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The idea of creating and signing a prenuptial agreement may not be romantic, but it is a practical move that can be designed to protect the interests of both parties. A NYC prenuptial lawyer can help the client understand what type of provisions can be included in the document and what sort of matters would be frowned upon by the court. Here are some of the issues that the lawyer is likely to recommend the client consider for inclusion in that agreement.
Assets Held Before the Marriage
One of the more common provisions found in a prenuptial agreement has to do with the property and other assets held by each spouse prior to the marriage. The goal is to ensure that if the marriage does end in divorce, each party will retain control of those assets. While the hope is that the couple will remain together for the rest of their lives, this provision does provide each one with some amount of financial security no matter how friendly or acrimonious the divorce should become.
Assets Acquired During the Marriage
There is an assumption that both parties contributed in some way to increasing the wealth of the couple during their years together. This is true even if only one party worked outside the home. The lawyer may provide some guidelines for determining how certain assets will be divided in the event the marriage should fail after five years, ten years, or whatever time frame the couple agrees to. Those provisions would serve as the basis for the settlement process during the actual divorce.
Debts Acquired Prior to the Marriage
Just as the prenuptial agreement addresses financial assets, there’s the matter of determining who will be responsible for the debts contracted by each party prior to the union. It’s possible to include a provision that states both parties agree to retain responsibility for all debts incurred before their marriage. Should the couple decide to divorce, each party will continue to pay their pre-existing debts and not expect the other party to settle them in whole or in part.
Providing for Children From Past Relationships
If there is property or other assets that one or both parties wishes to set aside for a child from a previous relationship, including that information in the prenuptial agreement is a must. Since both parties sign the document, they are in effect agreeing to all the terms found within. That means if the cabin at the lake is intended to eventually be the property of a child from a previous relationship, both parties are agreeing that asset will not be considered if the need to draft a divorce settlement arises.
Setting Ground Rules for Financial Management
Two adults who have established their own savings and retirement accounts will want to iron out how they will handle finances moving forward. The agreement terms and conditions can provide clarity regarding who will manage what assets. For example, the provisions may stipulate that each party will continue to oversee their own contributions into a retirement or pension plan. It’s possible to stipulate that purchases made with joint funds must be approved by both spouses. Even things like determining how the household expenses will be managed can be part of the agreement terms.
Property Distribution in the Event of Death
While a prenuptial agreement is not intended to take the place of a last will and testament, it can serve as one of the key documents in settling an estate. Along with the other provisions, the agreement can confirm that the life insurance benefits are to be paid to the surviving spouse. The same is true for any other properties that are not specifically bequeathed to a third party. The terms found in the agreement can simplify the process of settling the estate and allowing the process to be completed sooner rather than later.
There’s more that the prenuptial agreement lawyer can recommend, based on the circumstances of the client. Taking the time to explore each option allowed by the state of New York will make it possible to create a document that protects the interests of both parties in the event that the union become damaged to a point that remaining together is not viable. Once the agreement is drafted and signed, the hope is that it can go into the safety deposit box with other legal documents and remain there for as long as both spouses live.