Over 30 years of experience in divorce & family law

Jewelry, Cars, Heirlooms, Gifts, and the Need for a Prenuptial Agreement or Post Nuptial Agreement

Wedding rings on a prenuptial agreement

Everyone who intends to marry in New York needs a prenuptial agreement for one very important reason, among others.

New York’s equitable distribution law currently includes gifts given by spouses to one another during the marriage as marital property. Marital property is subject to distribution as a result of a divorce. While the equitable distribution law exempts property acquired by gift from the definition of marital property, that exemption only applies if it is acquired from someone other than a spouse.

Even property that would be classified as separate and not subject to equitable distribution upon divorce, such as an heirloom ring given to a spouse by another family member or inherited property, that separate property can become marital property if a spouse gives it to the other spouse as a gift during the marriage.

A prenuptial agreement makes sense for everyone because it can be drafted to preserve the character of all gifts given between spouses during the marriage as their separate property.

So with a prenuptial agreement, if your husband buys you that diamond tennis bracelet during the marriage, you can sleep easy knowing he will not be able to ask for a portion of its value if there is a divorce.

Similarly, if your wife buys you that antique car, the agreement will bar a claim for a portion of the value of the car.

Remember, a divorce judge has the power in New York to order the sale of marital property if the parties cannot agree on a disposition of the marital asset.

If you are already married, you can still address the gift issue with a post-nuptial agreement.

Prenuptial and post nuptial agreements should be professionally drafted and signed under the supervision of an attorney to ensure validity. Many prenuptial and post nuptial agreements are set aside because of defects in form, acknowledgment and notarization.

Feel free to contact the Law Offices of H. Michael Stern for a Free Consultation, if you are interested in preparing either a prenuptial agreement or post nuptial agreement.

Mediator Long Island. email: hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516-747-2290

The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.