New York State Divorce Laws on Prenuptial Agreements

By Heather Frances J.D.

Few couples enter into marriage expecting the marriage to fail, but prenuptial agreements are designed to protect both spouses’ assets if the marriage does end in divorce. State laws vary regarding permissibility and requirements for prenuptial agreements, but New York law allows couples to enter into such agreements.

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements describe the way a couple agrees to split their assets if they divorce, and these agreements must be signed before the marriage. Typical prenuptial agreements address spousal support and property division, but prenuptial agreements can be more detailed or more general. For example, a prenuptial agreement could specify that one spouse gets to keep a specific piece of real estate or that each spouse gets a certain portion of all real estate the couple owns at the time of the divorce.


New York requires prenuptial agreements to be fair -- both at the time of signing and at the time of divorce. If a prenuptial agreement is extremely lopsided, a court may deem it invalid. For example, if one spouse makes much more than the other and the prenuptial agreement prevents the lesser-earning spouse from receiving spousal support, the court could deem the agreement unfair. If circumstances arise during the marriage that make the prenuptial agreement unfair, such as one spouse becoming disabled, the court can also disregard the agreement during the divorce.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More


Spouses must have full financial disclosure before a prenuptial agreement is signed -- or a court may later consider the agreement invalid. Full disclosure of one spouse’s substantial assets allows the other spouse to decide whether to enter into the prenuptial agreement. Without such disclosure, soon-to-be spouses are incapable of making an educated decision to sign the agreement, since they would not know how much they could be entitled to if they divorced.


Certain topics and responsibilities cannot be contracted away in a prenuptial agreement. For example, terms of a prenuptial agreement that attempt to contract away child custody and child support responsibilities will likely be disregarded in a later divorce. Courts tend to simply ignore such terms, instead of invalidating the entire prenuptial agreement.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Can a Prenuptial Agreement Be Reversed During a Divorce in New York?

Related articles

Unconscionable Divorce Agreement

Most states prefer that spouses negotiate a marital settlement agreement on their own when they divorce, rather than ask the court to decide issues at trial. These agreements must usually be submitted to a judge for approval before they are incorporated into decrees or judgments. A judge won't approve your agreement if it's unconscionable. If you don't file for divorce, but just remain separated under your agreement's terms, it may not be enforceable either.

Do-It-Yourself Power of Attorney

A power of attorney grants someone else the power to perform legal acts for you, such as consenting to medical treatment or signing a contract in your name. Some states require the use of statutory forms for certain purposes, and some websites offer optional templates that you can use. You can use a power of attorney that you drafted yourself as long as it complies with state law.

Prenuptial Agreement in Hawaii

Planning your financial life with your spouse can begin before the wedding bells chime. You don't necessarily have to anticipate divorce when you create a prenuptial agreement; these documents can address estate planning concerns as well. Laws regarding prenups vary somewhat from state to state, but Hawaii has adopted the federal Uniform Premarital Agreement Act so its rules conform with those in many other jurisdictions.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Overturning a Prenuptial Agreement

Overturning a prenuptial agreement can be a little like pushing a boulder up a mountain with your shoulder. It’s ...

Can a Prenuptial Agreement Be Voided?

When your marriage is disintegrating and you suspect divorce is looming on the horizon, it can be a big comfort to know ...

DIY Prenuptial

If you’re planning to marry and you’ve decided that a prenuptial agreement is right for you, you might be tempted to ...

Problems With Wills

Because a last will and testament is such an important document, state law provides a number of grounds for contesting ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED