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Pre and post-marital contracts for same-sex couples

Obtaining the legal right to marry was a milestone for you and others in the LGBT community. Whether you and your future spouse waited for the right moment to celebrate your union or you only recently met the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, preparing for your marriage is just as important -- if not more so -- than planning for your wedding.

Of course, you will search for the perfect venue, caterer and ceremony. You may even labor over writing your vows. However, after the moments of your wedding day pass, you will want to have other critical matters resolved, including those issues you can include in a prenuptial agreement.

How a prenuptial agreement can protect you

Despite the long and fierce fight for recognition of same-sex marriage, having access to the right to marry does not protect you from the possibility of divorce. As with any marriage, you may benefit from having an open and honest discussion about the potential disputes that may arise if such an unfortunate circumstance should come between you and your spouse. A prenuptial agreement can resolve many issues in a calm and loving way instead of waiting until anger or other emotions cloud your ability to negotiate with dignity.

Some of the issues you can cover in your prenuptial agreement include these and others:

  • Asset division
  • Financial support
  • Investment and retirement division
  • Possession of the house
  • Division of debt
  • Powers of attorney

In addition, a prenuptial agreement can help establish some understanding between you that may reduce tension over issues that often create discord between couples, such as:

  • Financial responsibilities
  • Household duties
  • Conflict resolution

If you have already married, it is not too late to create such an agreement. A marital, or postnuptial agreement, can establish a similar understanding for you and your spouse. In fact, if you and your spouse were living together in a committed relationship before the legalization of same-sex marriage, you may have many factors to consider that would greatly complicate a divorce settlement.

There are virtually no limits to the kinds of things you can include in your marital agreement. One issue that may invalidate your contract is the inclusion of stipulations for child custody or support. New York family courts reserve the right to consider the best interests of the children during a divorce.

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