Like the majority of states, New York follows the "equitable distribution model" when dividing marital property in a divorce. Under this law, if a couple cannot reach a marital settlement agreement with the assistance of their respective attorneys, the judge on the case will divide their property in a manner that is "fair and equitable."
Unlike community property states where each spouse is entitled to 50 percent of the marital estate, New York judges have more discretion when dividing a couple's marital assets. Essentially, the judge would review the totality of the circumstances and from there, he or she would decide how to split a married couple's assets – the couple has virtually no control.
When it comes to high-net-worth marriages, many couples prefer to maintain control in a divorce rather than leave their hard-earned assets in the control of a judge who does not know them personally. The best way to exert this control is to enter into a prenuptial agreement before the marriage takes place.
Don't Prenups Mean There is a Lack of Trust?
Some fiancés feel as if prenuptial agreements mean there is a lack of trust, and that their future spouse does not have faith that the marriage will last. While prenups may seem unromantic at first, they can actually symbolize a greater level of trust in a relationship.
How is this possible? When an engaged couple enters into a prenuptial agreement, it means they are upfront and honest about their finances. The process involves a full, detailed disclosure of each person's financial situation, so this honesty actually enhances the trust.
When a couple gets married, they will have to discuss money sooner rather than later; many engaged couples agree that it's better to have the full picture before they tie the knot, and a prenup helps them with this transparency.
Prenups Give Peace of Mind
You don't plan on your house flooding, but you get insurance. You don't plan on getting into a car accident, but the state requires you to have auto insurance. If you're a doctor, you don't plan on being the subject of a lawsuit, but you still get medical malpractice insurance. For the wealthy, a prenup is just another form of insurance.
Hopefully, you'll never need to use your prenup, but if you do, at least you'll have peace of mind because you'll know what to expect. Not only that, but an ironclad prenup can help avoid litigation, thereby greatly reducing the legal fees involved.
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