Carton & Rosoff PC-Attorney at Law

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Protecting assets before the marriage with prenuptial agreements

Most people who get married in New York have a separate life prior to the marriage. So, they have obtained different assets and debts, have different jobs, may or may not have children from a previous relationship and many other circumstances. All of these things will certainly shape the marriage, but they are also considered separate for the purposes of marriage and potentially during a divorce as well. However, assets can be comingled and become marital property depending on the actions of the couple.

This can become a big issue for high asset divorces when one party who had significant assets prior to the marriage could lose part of them to their spouse. There is one way that people can try to avoid this possible outcome of a divorce: by planning ahead of the divorce and signing a prenuptial agreement before the marriage.

These agreements are generally binding contracts between the spouses indicating how they want to divide their assets after the divorce. These agreements state that certain property will remain separate property. So, if one spouse has significant assets that they want to protect, that can be stated in the agreement. Also, the parties can state how they will handle the issue of spousal support, which is another issue that can arise in high asset divorces.

While these agreements can keep certain property separate, they must meet certain requirements in order to be valid. The prenuptial agreement must be fair, the parties must enter into them freely, they must disclose all their financial assets, have independent attorneys and have it witnessed. If these factors are not present, then the divorce may proceed as if the agreement was never signed.

Many people enter into a marriage with a large number of assets. This could be because of inheritances, high paying jobs, it is a second or third marriage and the person has acquired numerous assets over the years and other reasons. These assets may be considered separate, but they can be comingled during the marriage. So, having a prenuptial agreement can be important to keep the assets separate regardless of what occurs during the marriage.

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Carton & Rosoff PC
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White Plains, NY 10601

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