The old adage that nothing lasts forever is true for so many things, including relationships. No matter one’s best intentions, every marriage can face difficult times that may cause it to end in divorce, including same-sex marriages. New York couples who are contemplating getting married — or who already have — may consider drafting a marital agreement that can offer protection for themselves and their loved ones.

Just as in a heterosexual marriage, same-sex couples are entitled to enter into both premarital and marital agreements. Both of these documents can ensure that each party’s best interests are protected while offering security concerning some of the more challenging matters that can arise during the course of a relationship. A premarital agreement is drafted before the wedding takes place and becomes effective once the vows are exchanged. These agreements can help set out how property and assets will be divided in the event that the marriage ends.

A marital agreement can be entered into any time after the wedding has taken place. This contract can specify how health care decisions can be made in the event one partner becomes incapacitated. It also can ensure that any assets held before the marriage commenced are addressed, as well as how debt will be handled if a divorce becomes inevitable.

Regardless of which agreement is selected, neither one has the power to settle issues related to child support, as this matter is reserved for the courts to decide. Otherwise, many other issues that can lead to a contentious battle can be headed off by drafting these agreements while both partners are calm and willing to work together, so that their agreement meets all of their needs if the relationship does not last. New York residents may benefit from seeking the input of an experienced family law attorney who is well-versed in the laws that apply to same-sex couples, in order to ensure that their best interests are protected throughout their marriage and during a divorce, should one become unavoidable.

Source: Forbes, “What Same-Sex Couples Should Know About Marriage Agreements Before Getting Married“, John Schneider and David Auten, Accessed on Jan. 8, 2018