Articles Tagged with New York prenuptial agreements

More and more Americans are getting married multiple times. As multiple marriages become more common, proper estate planning becomes more important. Tools such as prenuptial agreements can create an additional level of protection for you and your loved ones.

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Prenuptial agreements can be especially helpful if you or your spouse have children from prior marriages. Many people who remarry would like all or part of their estate to go to their children. Heirlooms or even family homes are often passed on the children. However, without proper estate planning these wishes could be ignored.

To challenge the validity of a prenuptial agreement, one looks to see if any of the above elements were abused or not satisfied. This can include–

1. Duress- A prenuptial agreement can be voided if one party was pressured or coerced into signing it. Duress also can be shown if the agreement was presented too closely to the wedding date and is not given enough time to think about the terms of the agreement before signing it. Some sources suggest that agreements signed within 60 days of the wedding may be challengeable based on duress. For example, duress has been shown where the wedding is only days away, the invitations have been sent, large sums have been expended, and cancelling the wedding would be costly and embarrassing. Another example is a case where the groom presented a prenuptial agreement just before the bride’s visa was to expire and told her to sign or the wedding would not take place prior to the visa’s expiration date.

2. Lack of mental capacity- Lack of mental capacity can be shown if the agreement was signed when one party was drunk or under the influence of drugs.

Every year, over 2 million people get married in the United States. In the same year, almost 900,000 people get divorced. Broken down even further, approximately 50% of all first marriages, 67% of all second marriages, and 74% of all third marriages end in divorce. With these statistics, it should be of little surprise that the use of prenuptial agreements is on the rise. However, one surprise may be that more agreements are being requested by women.

In New York, the state statutes have little to say about prenuptial agreements. Section 3-303 merely says, “A contract made between persons in contemplation of marriage, remains in full force after the marriage takes place.” This is because prenuptial agreements, by their nature, are highly customized and tailored to the couple who is entering into it.

In general, a valid prenuptial agreement requires the following–

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