Marriage provides spouses with significant legal rights and obligations. Prior to getting married, both spouses should have clear expectations and goals on how they wish to proceed as a married couple. In New York, absent a prenuptial agreement or marital waiver, all property acquired by the spouses during their marriage is subject to equitable distribution upon divorce. 'Equitable distribution' is defined as 'fair but not necessarily equal' distribution of assets, based on a variety of factors, which might result in unfair results for one or both of the spouses. Most importantly, a surviving spouse may not be disinherited in New York and may exercise a right of election with the Surrogate’s Court in order to receive a mandatory share of the other spouse's estate.
Our office specializes in drafting marital agreements and coordinating them with estate plans, either before or after marriage, so that both spouses can focus on what's most important: creating a family and forging a life together.