Friday, March 25, 2016

Time for a Prenuptial Agreement?

The weather is getting nicer, Easter is upon us, and wedding season is almost upon us. In my Brooklyn office, one of the associates is planning her wedding (it's hard to miss all of the wedding planning websites and other associated printouts flying out of the office printer).

With the upcoming weddings, my calendar is starting to fill up with the annual procession of people who need a prenuptial agreement before they get married. Some of them are smart and are planning ahead (their wedding is in the summer or the fall), others are winging it at the last minute (I'm looking at you folks who have April weddings and are just thinking about a prenuptial agreement in March).

Your prenuptial agreement should be drafted and signed in advance of your wedding, with both of you represented by attorneys if possible and the document reviewed in advance and signed in the presence of a notary public. The agreement is designed to cover what happens with your assets and liabilities in the event you end up getting divorce instead of leaving it to a Court to decide what to do with your finances.

Your prenuptial agreement should cover any assets you have, like real estate, retirement accounts, bank accounts and other financial assets. It should also address things like your credit card debt, student loan debt or other liabilities that you owe as you enter your marriage. You can also address whether either of you will receive alimony and the terms of the alimony in case you get divorced, but you can't agree in advance to child support or custody provisions.

In the end, your agreement is your way to map out your future and take uncertainty over your financial situation out of your purview. You likely don't know what the law says regarding your assets and liabilities (and that law can change during your marriage) and these agreements will help you address these issues in advance.

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