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  • Ellen Sakany

How to ensure your foreign marriage contract is enforceable in New York

There have been several recent Supreme Court decisions that have reiterated the very specific laws that govern the proper creation of prenuptial agreements in the State of New York. I have encountered many agreements that were created in foreign countries that are not enforceable in New York because they do not comply with New York’s very specific requirements. Foreign marriage contracts (prenuptial agreements) will come under scrutiny when a divorce case is filed here. If the specific requirements that are listed below are not followed, the Court will not enforce it.

1. The prenuptial agreement must be executed with the same formality as a recorded deed pursuant to Domestic Relations Law § 236(B)(3). The following are the requirements:

• The agreement must be in writing;

• It must be signed by both parties;

• For each party, it must be acknowledged or proven in the manner required to entitle a deed to be recorded (by a notary public). The following is sample language for the acknowledgment:

On the 22nd day of May, 2015, before me, the undersigned, personally appeared personally known to me or proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the individual whose name is John Doe subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he executed the same in his capacity and that by his signature on the instrument, the individual, or the person upon behalf of which the individual acted, executed the instrument.

2. Additionally, it is advisable that each party consult with a separate attorney after the parties fully exchange and disclose their financial assets. The opportunity for each party to review the other’s assets in advance of the marriage will make the prenuptial agreement stronger.

If you have any questions about your agreement or would like to have it reviewed, feel free to contact my office.

This article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. The information provided in this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the writer and the reader. The opinions expressed through this article are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

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