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NYC Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers

Prenuptial Agreement Law New York, Divorce Lawyers in New York

Pre-Nup Lawyer NYC

About our firm’s strength in drafting New York prenups: a case once piqued my curiosity: Trump v. Trump. I knew Donald Trump had all kinds of litigation, he is ‘The Don’ after all, but as a young lawyer reading about the case in the 1980’s I thought, wow, suing your own family member? Who was the second Trump in Trump v. Trump? The answer was Ivana Trump, his wife. She was in court attempting to vacate her pre-nup with the Don. She failed.

Manhattan Pre-nup Lawyer

In fact, in that NY Times Op Ed article in 1993, Raoul Felder said that he never had a pre-nup set aside by the courts. You can add our firm to the list of success stories in that regard. Who drafts your New York pre-nup is important: if it is done wrong, or you are given faulty advice, it may not be valid in court if and when you need it. Whether it gets vacated by the court in the event of a divorce can save you tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars, and if you have a high net worth or are going to fight over the children, the condo, the mansion and the Caribbean island, you’re looking at Woody Allen’s and Alec Baldwin’s fate (sans the Caribbean islands, last I heard): legal fees in the millions. They didn’t go to “We the People”, a legal documents drafting company, for a $399 pre-printed pre-nup, and neither should you.

Examples of Pre-nup Agreements and their Complexity in High Net Worth Individuals

pre-nup is in essence a contract between two individuals prior to their marriage to each other, within which there are provisions which specifically detail most if not all of their rights and obligations during the marriage and in the event of divorce, separation of death. Standard clauses that are generally seen in pre-nup agreements include protecting your assets acquired prior to the marriage, dividing assets and businesses during the marriage and also include a broad host of agreements in the pre-nup between the parties. These agreements include how the parties intend to care for any children born or conceived during the marriage, alimony (now known as maintenance in New York) both during the litigation as well as after the Judgment of Divorce is granted. Financial issues such as the amount of child support, amount of alimony, inheritance rights, life insurance, and interest in one party’s pension by the other party can be in the pre-nup. You have a right to enter into a valid New York pre-nup provided that the agreement comports with New York’s substantive and procedural fairness requirements. In a New York pre-nup, the parties can agree to waive any estate or inheritance rights. Also, any pre-nup language contrary to public policy is void. Contract principles such as fraud in procuring the signature, duress, and undue influence are used by NY courts to make sure the pre-nup is fair. Very rarely is an iron-clad pre-nup overturned by the divorce court or by an appellate court, but that is exactly what happened to Elizabeth Petrakis. In Petrakis v. Petrakis, 103 AD 3d 766 (2nd Dept. 2013), Elizabeth Petrakis went to a hearing during her divorce to attempt to vacate her pre-nup with multi-millionaire husband Peter Petrakis. The judge hearing the pre-nup issue bought her story that she was told by her husband Peter Petrakis that if she signed the pre-nup he would have babies with her and put one of his houses in their joint names. And when no babies came and her name continued not to be on the deed –God forbid!- she filed for divorce. And not only filed for divorce, but began nothing less than a crusade to have the pre-nup vacated. As if that was not enough, the Appellate Division agreed that the pre-nup should be vacated, because, well, no babies came and how dare he have the house solely in his name (a house that was apparently his to begin with). That baby promise was a verbal promise, and generally verbal-anything cannot and should not defeat a written-everything document, especially when that written document (in this case the pre-nup) specifically says that no verbal promises other than what’s in here have been stated or promised to either party (standard language in any agreement). Hence, we have entered the Twilight Zone of divorce law with respect to this case, because it opens every pre-nup during a divorce to a he-said, she-said bottomless pit of credibility-gauging, where any material element of the very fabric of what constitutes a marriage (sex, children, house) can now be introduced as an oral promise in an attempt to defeat the very promises which were put in writing in the pre-nup, and which generally states in most every agreement, “I have not been promised anything by anyone before signing this agreement.” So what is the lesson of the Elizabeth Petrakis case? Look credible at a hearing. Go on a crusade arguing that your future husband lied to you (a rare event in the annals of courtship), and at trial if you look honest and he doesn’t, you are on your way to getting half. Another important consideration on the issue of voiding a pre-nup down the line in the event of a divorce is disclosure: full and complete disclosure means each party must advise and annex as an attachment to the pre-nup a listing of all assets, property and finances. A fiancee may not want this to be detailed in written form, because it could be made public during a divorce. There are ways to get around the confidentiality concern. The pre-nup can be deemed unenforceable if the judge finds full disclosure was not forthcoming when the pre-nup was made. All disclosures should be made in writing to prevent any later dispute as to what they each disclosed. Both parties should have independent NY lawyers to represent each of their interests. It does not sound romantic, but neither would a custody battle. Feel free to schedule your in-office consultation with Mr. Diefenbach, a New York pre-nup lawyer. If you have significant assets, cash, property or a business, we highly recommend you speak with us before tying the knot. Hopefully you won’t have to find out the hard way that untying the knot is a bit more difficult.