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What should I include in my prenuptial agreement?

Your prenuptial agreement will serve as an action plan in the event that divorce is necessary. Essentially, you will have agreed to and planned out many of the most difficult elements of your divorce already, and those guidelines can then be followed to quickly and cost-effectively to bring your marriage to a close. Although prenups remain somewhat controversial, the utility of the documents is clear, and arguably they should be incorporated into every marriage process.

Here are a few issues that prenuptial agreements commonly address:

Determination of separate property: If an individual is going into a marriage with a great deal of separate property, he or she can identify this separate property in the prenup to ensure that it is not confused for marital property and subjected to division in the case of a divorce.

Protection from debts: Just like you can identify individual property in your prenuptial agreement, you can also identify separate debts to ensure that the debt-free spouse doesn't have to take on these financial responsibilities later.

Protect the inheritances of children: You can use your prenup to protect the future inheritances of your children should you pass away unexpectedly.

Keep family property separate: Many families protect their assets through prenuptial agreements that ensure a spouse cannot take ownership of part of a family inheritance, family business or heirlooms.

Determine property distribution if you divorce: Plan out how your property will be distributed in the event of a divorce. This way everything is laid out in advance and not affected by arguments or stress in the event of a difficult divorce.

Define your marital responsibilities: Spouses can define their agreed-upon roles, duties and behavior during marriage.

These documents are delicate and need to be drafted and executed by both parties appropriately in order to ensure that they are valid. As such, if you can see the advantages of a prenuptial agreement, be sure to handle its drafting and execution with care and attention to the details of New York family law.

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