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Prenuptial Agreements in New York

Many times, due to films and movies, prenuptial agreements that are perceived as a sign of distrust or looking to the end of a marriage prior to “happily ever after” even beginning. Cimasi Law has had a very different perspective on prenuptial agreements for Buffalo, Amherst, and all of Western New York. In a second marriage, a prenuptial agreement is may be considered to secure legal or financial obligations from the first marriage. Prenuptial agreements can, somewhat counter intuitively, also help build trust between children, relatives, and the new spouse. Removing the uncertainty over inheritance and asset distribution raised by adding a new spouse may allay the uncomfortable concerns of either party’s children or family, especially if the marriage comes later in life. When each party has similar wealth profiles and children or next of kin, prenuptial agreements can help bring families together to ensure that everyone is entering the marriage with a clear objective with a relationship built on love and trust.

Why and when should you consider a prenuptial agreement?

A marriage is a legal contract. While often consumed by emotion, it is also a legal and binding agreement. Therefore, prior to entering into any legal and binding agreement, it may be a good time to reach out to your attorney to discuss how you can be protected if something changes in the future. Based on experience in prenuptial agreements, there are a few instances where a prenuptial agreement is clearly a valid consideration:

  1. Remarriage:
    1. If you have been previously married, this means that you may have previous financial obligations to your spouse or to your minor children. The previous marriage could bring financial and legal expenses into the new marriage. A prenuptial agreement can protect you from losing additional assets and reassure existing potential heirs of their standing, but it may also protect your new spouse or children from an unfair division of assets with an ex-spouse or previous dependent children.
  2. You Have Similar Wealth Profiles
    1. If you have similar wealth profiles, in family assets, businesses, real estate, and investments, a prenuptial agreement may forestall unpleasant legal battles between your dependents and children. While a prenuptial agreement is a way to protect those assets, in your will or estate plan, you do have the freedom to gift your current spouse to the degree you see fit. The prenuptial agreement can add instant trust with the new spouse and children from a previous marriage or family members that share in businesses.
  3. Your Soon-to-be-Spouse has Significantly more Debt Than You
    1. Due to rising costs in education, many spouses in a first marriage, come into the marriage with student loan or credit card debt. Without a conversation and prenuptial agreement, should the marriage end prior to debt repayment, the other spouse may have financial responsibility to take a portion of the debt as their own.
  4. Your Soon-To-Be-Spouse Has Significantly More Wealth Than You
    1. While it is just as important to protect the wealth that you have, if you help to build your spouse’s business during the marriage, but have not been previously married, or are not legally an employee of the business, having a prenup to protect your sweat equity may protect you if the marriage fails. This may also be the case if one spouse has not worked and taken care of the children and the household while the other spouse was the primary income earner. A prenup can protect you for these “what-if” scenarios.
  5. You are a business owner
    1. If you have created a business, or multiple business entities prior to joining a relationship, it is your responsibility to the business, your partners and your next of kin to protect these assets as assets that are not considered spousal. This is a time to consider a prenuptial agreement to protect all parties’ financial interests in the business.

Take Action. Protect Your Rights. Contact Us Today.

If you are located in Western New York and looking to discuss drafting and filing a prenuptial agreement prior to your wedding day, please call Michael Charles Cimasi, your experienced counselor located in Amherst, New York at 716-267-6430 or email me here.