Westchester Marital Agreement Lawyer
Marital agreements have become popular planning tools for couples, allowing them to make determinations about certain important issues in the event of a future divorce. A well-drafted marital agreement can resolve issues relating to tangible property and support ahead of time so that a divorce can be completed efficiently, equitably, and ideally with minimal emotional strain.
If you and your partner are considering a marital agreement or would like to renegotiate an existing agreement in Westchester, you should contact a Westchester marital agreement lawyer today. A dedicated family lawyer could provide essential help preparing the relevant documents so that all legal requirements are satisfied and your interests are protected.
What Constitutes a Marital Agreement
Types of agreements a marital agreement attorney can help prepare include:
- Prenuptial agreement – made prior to marriage to identify separate property and set guidelines for support and property division in the event of a divorce
- Postnuptial agreement – identifies the same issues as a prenuptial agreement, but made after a couple has married
- Separation agreement – an agreement made prior to a divorce that provides for immediate separation and outlines specifies rules for property division and guidelines for spousal and child support
- Settlement agreement – a document that is drafted after divorce proceedings are initiated that can resolve property division issues, child custody, parenting schedules, and spousal and child support
What To Know About Divorce Law in Westchester
New York follows equitable distribution law for property and debt division in divorce. This means that property acquired during the marriage is divided between the spouses in a fair and equitable manner regardless of title. Divorcing couples are free to make their own determination but if they do not, a judge will make the final determination as to whether a particular distribution is fair and reasonable.
In Westchester, marital agreements may be negotiated before or during a marriage. The marriage contract—in other words, the marriage itself—creates a fiduciary responsibility between the spouses. Likewise, marital agreements must adhere to strict guidelines to be valid and enforceable.
The agreement must be fair and reasonable both at the time of signing as well as when the marriage is dissolved through divorce proceedings. Marital agreements must be in writing, signed freely and voluntarily by both spouses, and both signatures must be acknowledged by a notary public. Both spouses must also have an opportunity to have separate legal counsel review the agreement.
Some of the issues that can be addressed in a marital agreement include ownership and disposition or division of separate assets and marital assets, division of responsibility for joint and separate debts, the length of time and amount of spousal support that will be paid, and issues related to the parties’ children such as support, maintenance, care, and education.
Assistance from a Skilled Marital Agreement Attorney in Westchester
Generally, courts encourage couples to enter agreements and settlement arrangements outside of court. A well-considered and comprehensive plan that is drafted early on can save time and money in the event of a divorce.
Consult an experienced Westchester-based marital agreement lawyer who could ensure that all legal requirements are satisfied. A qualified lawyer could identify your specific needs, explain your options, and prepare a marital agreement that is valid and enforceable. Call our Westchester family law offices today to learn how we may be able to help you.