Prenuptial agreements may be one of the most misunderstood legal contracts. Some believe prenups doom a marriage to fail; others see the agreements as a safety net just in case a marriage ends. Though there is definitely a purpose for a good prenuptial agreement, there is reason enough to be wary.
Future Security of Children and Assets
A prenuptial agreement, also known as a premarital agreement or a prenup, is similar to an estate plan: it sets forth the wishes of the couple, assigns assets, and provides direction should the marriage dissolve in divorce. Often, prenuptial agreements are used to protect specific assets in the event of a divorce or a death and to protect the inheritance(s) of children from previous relationships. Other situations that may lead couples to draft prenuptial agreements include:
- Business interests
- Ownership of substantial assets
- Accumulation of sizable retirement resources
In a good setting, the consenting couple voluntarily enters into a prenuptial agreement together with the interests of both parties being represented and protected by experienced family law attorneys. If done successfully, some New York prenuptial agreement attorneys say it will help to avoid unnecessary, expensive litigation by being fair to both parties at the beginning and at the potential end of the relationship.
New York Legal Representation Important
Unfortunately, too often a prenuptial agreement was not used in proper context or entered into with noble intentions by one or both parties. In these cases, dishonesty, exploitation and intense pressure result in unfair, one-sided agreements that leave one party exultant and one party devastated.
Knowing the difference between a good prenup and a bad one many times requires a family law lawyer who understands legal jargon and can identify the warning signs of gimmicks and manipulation. By choosing reputable legal counsel experienced in reviewing, drafting and negotiating prenuptial agreements, a person can be confident that he or she will be protected and treated fairly when entering a prenuptial agreement, when revising the contract or when exiting a marriage.