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UNDER WHAT TYPES OF CIRCUMSTANCES DO NEW YORK COURTS NOT UPHOLD A PRENUP?

When creating a prenuptial agreement with your prospective spouse, it is wise to consult a Brooklyn prenuptial agreement attorney to make sure your agreement is valid and fair.

New York Domestic Relations Law (DRL) 236[B](3) is the basic statute that establishes prenuptial agreements as valid legal instruments in New York. However, there are cases where New York courts have deemed that agreements between husbands and wives were not valid and, therefore, not enforceable. The courts do not uphold agreements that are unfair, that involve misrepresentation, fraud, duress or coercion. When it is obvious that one party is trying to defraud the other or take advantage unfairly, or that the agreement would leave the other spouse without an adequate means of survival or a fair and equitable division of assets, the courts typically can rule against the agreement.

An example is the 1977 case Christian v. Christian, appealed to the New York Court of Appeals. The couple had separated for one year and the separation agreement stated that couple's separately owned assets would be divided 50/50. However, the husband withheld the fact that he knew his stocks were worth $200,000, whereas his wife's stocks had a value of $800,000 to $900,000. In the appeal, the wife alleged that he purposefully concealed this fact when having the attorney draft the agreement. The court addressed the idea of overreaching and found the husband's terms unconscionable.

When devising a prenuptial agreement, it is important to disclose information and act fairly. A prenuptial agreement attorney in Brooklyn can help you address financial issues and explain various case laws that apply.

Goldberg Sager & Associates has extensive experience handling all types of matters involved with marriage, divorce and family law issues.

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