As you and your partner prepare for marriage, it is unlikely you are entertaining the possibility of divorce. Yet, even if you two are currently in the throes of bliss, your relationship could one day sour. While neither of you will hope for this outcome, you must plan for it as a precaution. By creating a prenuptial agreement, you can protect your property in the event you two split up.

What prenuptial agreements do

You and your partner might enter your marriage with disparate financial circumstances. If you have substantial assets, these could diminish if you two divorce. Yet, any prenuptial agreement you create would take precedence over New York’s property division laws. Keep in mind, though, that you must set out your separate property in a fair manner. While you will want to protect your assets, your agreement may be unenforceable if it leaves your partner at a disadvantage.

Your prenuptial agreement can also account for the division of debt if you divorce. While one of you may be debt-free, the other might carry a large debt load. Your agreement, then, could absolve you from responsibility for each other’s debts if you split. And while neither of you can establish or waive child support obligations in your agreement, you can do so for spousal support.

Why prenuptial agreements must be sound

Your prenuptial agreement could be unenforceable if you fail to take several crucial steps during its creation. One mistake that could invalidate it is if you or your partner fail to disclose any of your assets. Without fairness and transparency on both your parts, a judge will nullify your agreement if you two divorce. Your agreement will also face invalidation if you force your partner to sign it under duress or if you give them little – if any – time to review its terms. And it may also face scrutiny if you create and sign it right before your wedding.

You and your partner must have separate attorneys when creating your prenuptial agreement. Using the same attorney could cause a judge to question its fairness. But by knowing the components of a sound agreement, you can work with yours to achieve a solution that serves as a safeguard in case of divorce.