Marital Agreement Laws in Albany
While the construction of a marital or separation agreement is largely up to the discretion of the two parties, there are some parameters that they must maintain. Marital agreement laws in Albany exist to make certain that you do not come out of a situation in a worse position than your partner. A dedicated marital agreements attorney could work with you to ensure you are not missing any legal specifications.
How Does New York Define Marital and Separate Property?
Separate property refers to anything that was either purchased before the marriage or inherited by someone during the marriage. Anything else that is acquired during the marriage is generally considered marital property.
However, it is important that personal property is kept separate or else it runs the risk of being labeled as marital. For example, if someone inherited a large sum of money but they put it into a joint bank account that they share with their spouse, someone could argue that the inheritance has been co-mingled and that the spouse deserves an equitable share of it in a divorce. The inheritor must put that money in a separate account without anyone else’s name on it in order to secure it in the event of a divorce.
Assets that are often considered marital property include:
- Real property
- Money put into retirement accounts during the marriage
- Money put into a bank account during the marriage
- Stocks and bonds
- Anything else accrued, acquired, or come upon during the marriage
Determining the Type of Property
The main factor in determining the type of property is whether or not it was acquired before or during the marriage, as well as after a divorce has commenced. This is the standard that courts will use to settle conflicts. New York is an equitable distribution state, which means that any liabilities and assets not considered to be separate will be distributed between the parties. This is why it is important for individuals to make legal distinctions for their own property ahead of time.
There are a number of minor everyday expenses known as marital expenses, such as utilities, credit card bills, tuition bills, which the court looks at on a case-by-case basis. If there was an expense that is not paid routinely, they might determine that it was separate property. A lawyer could know the various local marital agreement laws that need to be followed.
Legal Requirements for a Marital Agreement
It is crucial that any agreement is operating under a full and fair disclosure between both sides. A full and fair disclosure means all discovery avenues have been exhausted and the parties agree that they have all of the financial disclosures. If one spouse fails to fully disclose everything they own, the other person could miss out on an asset they are otherwise entitled to. The law also requires that a marital agreement in Albany be signed by both parties in front of a notary in order to become valid.
What Are the Consequences for Not Complying with the Agreement?
There are a number of provisions that are built into a separation agreement that address the consequences of failing to comply. If one party agreed to pay another party a sum of money, and no payment was made, there should be a provision that talks about what happens if they do not follow through. Often it includes a provision stating that the non-compliant party is responsible for the attorney’s fees that accrue from enforcement.
Contract law enforces compliance with marital agreements. If the marital agreement is incorporated into a judgment of divorce, then the New York Supreme Court and the judge that signed the final judgment of divorce have the power to enforce the separation agreement.
Talk to an Attorney About Marital Agreement Laws in Albany
Marital agreements are an important part of any marriage, separation, or divorce. When a couple decides to end their relationship, it is important that one does not take the lion’s share of assets, leaving the other at a disadvantage. Luckily, there are rules in place to reduce that risk. If you wish to confirm that your proposal is fair and legal, contact a lawyer to discuss marital agreement laws in Albany.