Prenuptial Agreements

At Vacca Family Law Group, we help clients negotiate their prenuptial agreements before they get married. Many couples use prenuptial agreements to protect their interests in the event of a divorce, separation, or death. Even if you never have to rely upon your prenuptial agreement, it is an effective way to maintain peace of mind during your marriage. We know that the more secure a couple feels, the stronger their relationship will be.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement between you and your future spouse. It contains plans for your children, properties, investments - anything that is important to you - in the event of your divorce. It also protects your assets, inheritances, and rights in the event of a divorce. 

Even if you don’t intend to get divorced, having a prenuptial agreement is a great backup plan for the future. As we like to remind our clients, every marriage ends – either in divorce or death. Regardless of why you may need your prenup, you’ll be grateful for the time, money and emotional stress it will save you years down the road.

How a Prenuptial Agreement Works

Prenuptial agreements are signed before the marriage. Couples who are planning to marry often enter into prenuptial agreements that clarify each spouse’s financial rights and obligations in the event of a divorce. Couples can also use prenuptial agreements to determine what rights a spouse will have in the event of the other's death. 

The most common reasons that people create prenuptial agreements include:

  • Protecting assets that they had prior to the marriage
  • Protecting assets that they expect to inherit
  • Clarifying how marital assets will be divided 
  • Clarifying whether a spouse will be entitled to spousal support in the event of a divorce
  • Clarifying what estate rights a surviving spouse will have upon the death of the other

We strongly encourage engaged couples to create a prenuptial agreement in a way that helps them talk about what matters to them most. When you and your fiance discuss the terms of your prenuptial agreement in a non-adversarial way, it can strengthen your marriage. We like to call it “Conscious Coupling.” Not only are you learning to discuss difficult issues effectively, you are also increasing trust between you and learning new skills to resolve disputes that may arise in the future. 

How a Prenup Can Protect Premarital Assets

FAQs About Prenuptial Agreements

People often have a lot of questions about prenuptial agreements. We invite you to read through the following to learn more about these agreements.

Should I get a prenuptial agreement?

Yes. You should get a prenuptial agreement if you plan on getting married. We recommend prenuptial agreements for every engaged couple, even if you don’t have children or substantial personal assets. Making this agreement now will save you countless hours of stress and conflict should you ever decide to get divorced. 

Even if you have no reason to believe you will ever divorce, things can change in the future. If things don’t change, that’s fine - you just won’t use your prenuptial agreement. But if they do, you’ll have a prenuptial agreement to help you avoid conflict and move forward.

How long does it take to make a prenuptial agreement?

We recommend contacting a lawyer about six months before you’re planning to get married. Drafting a prenuptial agreement can take considerable time, maybe even several months, and you don’t want to still be negotiating the terms just weeks - or days - before your wedding.

How much does a prenuptial agreement cost?

A prenuptial agreement is an investment in your future, and it can save you hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of dollars later down the line. Everyone’s circumstances differ, but most prenuptial agreements in New York cost between $4,000 to $15,000. At the lower end of the range, the parties will have agreed on all terms in advance.  The higher end of the range includes substantial legal negotiations.

What if we just need a simple prenup?

For clients who truly want a “simple” prenup, I can tell you that you may not actually need one. A simple prenup may simply mean that you will be signing up to do exactly what the law dictates for divorcing spouses.  But many clients want to do something very different from what the law provides. They may want to define marital property differently. Or their financial lives may be entwined to such an extent that it may not be easy to determine exactly what constitutes separate property. With a well written prenuptial agreement, you can stipulate the terms that suit your needs and come up with personalized solutions.

Spousal Support in a Prenuptial Agreement

Should both parties have attorneys while drafting a prenuptial agreement?

We recommend that both you and your future spouse engage attorneys while working out your prenuptial agreement. That way, you can both know and fully understand exactly what you are signing. Lawyers also help you cover every base and fully futureproof your assets and estate. 

Using a Prenuptial Agreement to Avoid Contentious Divorce

Is a prenuptial agreement a bad idea?

A prenuptial agreement is not a bad idea.  But the way you create a prenup can be.  We highly recommend engaging in non-adversarial conversations with your fiance and his or her attorney or a mediator to discuss what is most important to you.  We do not recommend that the fiance with more assets or income ask their lawyer to draft a prenup and then present it to their fiance to review and sign.  That is definitely a bad idea.  

It’s a common misconception that by letting your soon to-be spouse know that you would like the two of you to sign a prenuptial agreement, you’re indicating that you don’t trust them or believe in a future together. This simply isn’t true. Wanting to start your marriage with an understanding of financial and other issues is actually a sign of love and respect for each other.  

Talking with our attorneys can help you broach the topic with your fiance. We’ve worked with couples in many different circumstances, and we have some great resources to help. 

Mediation Through the Prenuptial Agreement Process

Contact Vacca Family Law Group for a Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Today

 

Vacca Family Law Group assists clients of all different backgrounds with their prenuptial agreements. Our attorneys can help you learn more about how a prenuptial agreement can address your concerns and provide you with the security you are seeking. To speak with one of our qualified attorneys today and get started on your prenuptial agreement, contact us at 212-768-1115.

Additional Resources

Prenuptial Agreements Part 1: What’s Mine is Yours? What’s Yours Is Mine? Wait, What’s Going On?

It’s wedding season, and in addition to checking the typical wedding-related tasks off the to-do list, many soon-to-be newlyweds are reaching out to lawyers like me to draft prenuptial agreements. And one of the most common things they tell me is:…

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Prenuptial Agreements Part 2: 4 More Things Not to Worry About if You Have a Prenup

This is a continuation of my previous post that explored what a “simple” prenuptial agreement looks like and when a more complex agreement may be needed. In this post we move beyond the basics of separate property and marital property to explore…

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How Millennials are Making Prenups the Norm: Prenuptial Agreement Checklist

Over the past few years, my law and mediation practice has seen a significant increase in requests for prenuptial agreements. A recent New York Times article The Rise of the Millennial Prenup cites the following contributing factors for the increase: millennials are…

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