Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Marriage is a partnership. Like any partnership, it is important for the partners to share their values and to understand each other’s expectations. One good way to do that is through crafting a prenuptial agreement. While a prenuptial agreement is often seen as a way to simplify divorce, it is also an opportunity to lay a strong foundation of mutual understanding for a marriage, which may actually prevent divorce.

Prenuptial agreements are particularly important for individuals with high net worth or who are creating a blended family. But a prenup can be valuable for any couple that wants to enter marriage with clarity about values, rights, and responsibilities.

At the Law Offices of Andreas Vasilatos, PLLC, we help our clients identify, articulate, and resolve issues of concern before entering marriage so they can begin their new life together with confidence.

How Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Work

In order to be enforceable, a New York prenuptial agreement must be in writing, signed by the intended spouses, and executed before a notary public prior to the marriage; it then becomes effective upon the marriage. Like any contract, a prenuptial agreement in New York requires that the parties entered into it voluntarily (not due to fraud or under duress); that the parties be legally and mentally competent to enter a contract; and that the contact not be unconscionable (grossly unfair) when entered into.

Prenuptial agreements deal primarily with financial issues, but New York, unlike many states, does allow provisions regarding the care, custody, and support of children. However, a court must find that such provisions are in the best interest of the children in order to enforce them.

Prenuptial agreements are especially helpful for future spouses who:

  • Have significant wealth or a significant disparity in wealth
  • Have an interest in a family business or other assets from their family of origin that they want to keep separate from the marriage
  • Have children from a prior marriage or prior relationship whose inheritance they want to protect

A prenuptial agreement must be executed before marriage, but occasionally an unforeseen issue arises after marriage regarding which a couple wants to make an agreement. In those circumstances, a postnuptial agreement is an option.

Whether making a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it is important for each party to have the counsel of an experienced New York matrimonial attorney. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf and explain all of the implications of each provision of the agreement, ensuring that you fully understand your rights and obligations under the contract. Spouses or future spouses cannot have the same attorney in a postnup or prenup matter due to conflict of interest; the interests of one party might be contrary to those of the other.

In the case of a prenup, the agreement should be drafted, reviewed, and signed well in advance of the wedding. Otherwise, if one spouse later needs a court to enforce the agreement, the other might argue that it was made under duress—that they were pressured to sign under the threat that the impending wedding might otherwise be called off.

The attorneys of Andreas Vasilatos, PLLC are experienced matrimonial attorneys who ensure that their clients’ interests are protected in the drafting of a prenup or postnup. What’s more, unlike many family law attorneys, they are seasoned litigators. In the event that an agreement needs to be enforced or challenged in court, they are well-equipped to advocate effectively for their client’s position.

Work with an Experienced New York Prenuptial Agreement Attorney

The Law Offices of Andreas Vasilatos, PLLC has two convenient locations: in Bayside, Queen, and at 7 World Trade Center in Manhattan. The firm serves clients in all five boroughs of New York City as well as Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties. We invite you to learn more about our firm and our team, and to contact us to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you.