NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 9th October 2023, 03:49 pm
New York Prenup Lawyers – A Helpful Guide
Prenuptial agreements, commonly known as prenups, are legal contracts created to specify what happens to a couple’s individual and joint assets if they divorce. More and more couples today are using prenups to protect their financial interests before saying “I do.” If you live in New York and are considering a prenup, this guide will help you understand how they work and how to find the right lawyer.
Why Do People Get Prenups in New York?
There are several common reasons New York couples choose to create prenups:
- One partner is bringing substantially more assets into the marriage
- One or both partners have children from a previous relationship
- The couple has family businesses, investments, or inherited wealth to protect
- They want to keep certain individual property like real estate or family heirlooms separate
- They’ve been married before and want to avoid disputes if they divorce again
Prenups allow you to determine in advance how to equitably divide your property if you split up down the road.
Are Prenups Legally Binding in New York?
Yes, prenuptial agreements are legally enforceable in New York State, provided they adhere to certain requirements:
- The agreement must be in writing and signed by both spouses
- Each spouse must make full financial disclosure to the other
- Each spouse should consult their own lawyer before signing
- Terms must be fair and reasonable for both parties
An experienced New York prenup lawyer will ensure your agreement complies with all legal criteria to withstand a challenge if you divorce.
What Can Be Included in a New York Prenup?
Prenups often deal with:
- Asset division – How property like investments, real estate, businesses, retirement accounts, etc. will be divided
- Spousal support – If one spouse will pay alimony to the other, how much and for how long
- Inheritances and gifts – If these will remain separate property
- Debts – Who is responsible for individual and joint debts
- Life insurance – If one spouse will carry a policy benefiting the other
- Children’s issues – Custody, visitation, child support if relevant
A skilled New York prenup attorney can help customize terms to fit your unique situation.
How Much Does a Prenup Lawyer Cost in New York?
On average, expect to pay $2,000-$4,000 for an experienced prenup lawyer in New York. However, costs vary based on factors like:
- The complexity of assets involved
- How much negotiation is needed between spouses
- Whether other documents like wills need drafting
- The experience and reputation of the lawyer
It’s wise for each spouse to have a lawyer review the prenup, which doubles the legal fees but provides protection.
How to Find the Best Prenup Lawyer in New York
Look for a New York prenup lawyer who:
- Focuses exclusively on family law
- Has extensive prenup experience specifically
- Is respected by peers and judges
- Makes you comfortable and listens to your needs
- Explains legal issues in plain English
- Is affordable and upfront about fees
Ask friends or your existing lawyer for referrals. Research prenup lawyers online and meet with a few before deciding.
When Should You Get a Prenup in New York?
Ideally, you should sign a prenup at least 30 days before your wedding. This allows time for negotiation and avoids duress claims. Some additional tips:
- Consider a prenup if engagement lasts less than a year – More time allows for better financial disclosure.
- Revisit after 5-10 years – You can revise the terms or write a postnup if circumstances change.
- Update after major life events – Inheritance, having kids, big increase in assets.
- Build in sunset clauses – Provisions that expire after a certain time period.
A good New York prenup lawyer will advise you on the best timing for your situation.
What Happens If You Don’t Get a Prenup in New York?
With no prenup, New York law determines how marital assets are divided if you divorce. The court looks at:
- Length of marriage
- Each spouse’s income and ability to earn
- Contributions to the marriage
- Custody arrangements for kids
- Each spouse’s expenses and debts
The court will aim for an equitable but not necessarily equal split. A prenup allows you to control division on your terms.
Can a New York Prenup Help If You Divorce?
Yes, a properly drafted prenup can make divorce faster, simpler, and less costly by:
- Avoiding fights over property division
- Setting clear spousal support terms
- Keeping inheritances/gifts separate
- Clarifying financial rights and responsibilities
- Allowing for private mediation vs. litigation
Talk to a New York divorce lawyer about enforcing your prenup.
Common Prenup Myths
Some common misconceptions about prenups include:
- Myth: Only the wealthy need prenups. Fact: Middle-class couples can benefit too.
- Myth: Prenups are not romantic. Fact: Protecting each other’s interests can be loving.
- Myth: Prenups get “thrown out” in court. Fact: They are legally binding if done properly.
- Myth: Prenups are only for those marrying again. Fact: First-time marriages can use them too.
- Myth: Women need prenups more than men. Fact: They protect either spouse.
A knowledgeable New York prenup lawyer can explain the truth about prenups.
How to Make a Prenup Stronger
Some tips from New York prenup lawyers on making your agreement ironclad:
- Disclose all assets/liabilities and attach financial statements
- Make sure both spouses’ needs are addressed
- Include terms for what happens if one spouse dies
- Explain each provision simply and clearly
- Note any disputes or changes in writing
- Make the agreement long enough to withstand scrutiny
- Stick to legal language without emotional phrases
An experienced lawyer prepares prenups to comply with all legal requirements.
Mistakes to Avoid With New York Prenups
Some common pitfalls include:
- Not allowing enough time before the wedding
- Trying to DIY without lawyers
- Failing to fully disclose assets and debts
- Not reviewing regularly as circumstances change
- Using complicated language that leaves room for dispute
- Including unreasonable or overly restrictive terms
- Letting emotions or anger drive negotiations
A top New York prenup lawyer helps you avoid these mistakes upfront.
Alternatives to Prenups
If a prenup isn’t right for you, some alternatives to consider include:
- Postnuptial agreement – Similar to prenup but signed after marriage
- Cohabitation agreement – Outlines rights of unmarried couples living together
- Will – Specifies who inherits your assets if you die
- Trust – Transfers control of assets to designated trustee
- Life insurance – Provides money to spouse at your death
A family law attorney can explain these options.
Questions for a New York Prenup Lawyer
Key questions to ask a potential prenup lawyer include:
- How many prenups have you handled, and what was the outcome?
- Will you represent me individually or my fiancé and I jointly?
- What is your approach to making a prenup enforceable?
- What will your total fees be and what does that include?
- How long will the process take from start to finish?
Choose a lawyer who responds confidently and clearly. Avoid lawyers who seem vague or unsure.
Finding the Right New York Prenup Lawyer for You
A prenup allows you to protect assets and interests in case of divorce down the road. Take time to research and find an ethical, experienced New York lawyer you connect with. With a solid prenup in place, you can enter marriage with less financial fear.
References Prenuptial Agreements in New York: What You Need to Know  New York City Divorce Lawyers | Matrimonial Attorneys  How Much Does a Prenuptial Agreement Cost in New York?  6 Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Prenuptial Agreement  Prenuptial Agreement Myths in New York