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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 30382
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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I need to understand according to NY state law, if I just

Customer Question

I need to understand according to NY state law, if I just signed the contract of a condo but the closing happened 3 months after the marriage, will that be considered as a marital property or my individual property for equitable distribution in case we end up divorcing?
My boy friend also recently closed on a condo but mortgage payments will stay there for next 10-15 years and he is asking me to pay half the mortgage to him as both of us will be staying on his property/condo after marriage. Will that be solely his or partly mine based on my contributions towards his mortgage? I will most probably be transferingmoney to his bank account on monthly basis so can I show bank statements as the proof of how much i paid on monthly basis towards his mortgage (though it will be from my bank account to his bank account).
Also, what happens to the other properties he has acquired/paid off before marriage? Will that be all his at all conditions? He wants me to sign a prenup that all of his property and incomes (liquid assets) will remain 100% his that he paid off before marriage, but is a prenup really required if that will remain 100% with him only as he paid off them already before marriage? Will I get anything at all out of all his previous paid off properties? (I don't think so).
What would you suggest I should make sure I DO and Don't DO, if we sign a prenup, being the girl (I have a full time job and I make a little less money than him).
Does prenup become kind of obsolete and all marital properties are divided almost 50-50 after certain years of marriage? If yes, approximately how many years after?
How about debts that each of us may have that are not for something not shared by both of us - like getting som eplastic surgery done, inveting in a business/startup where other person is not a partner or not willing to start that business (no signatures from him on any documents related to that property); but all this paid out o feither Joint account or from ones own money after marriage? All the money you earn after marriage is 50-50 dividable in NY state? If yes, then any of such spends should not be made if other spouse is not okay with it - no? May be yes, but what is permitted and in what circumstances?
I don't think I will ever get divorced. We know each other from past 4 years and it's heart breaking for me that he is pushing so hard for a pre nup, whereas for me marriage should be life long and we should help each other every way possible. We have been having fights in past 4 years and we were on and off so that makes me kind of worried at times that things may get really bad sometime in future and one of us may loose all the patience and want a divorce being we already have a prenup saving our separate assets, which I don't want. I want the fear of loosing property/earnings for both of us to make up any differences and stay together and not make any hasty/wrong decisions to get divorced.
I thought of leaving him as well few times past few weeks, seeing him so mu pressurizing me for prenup but I am pregnant and I may need to abort if he is not ready to get married without a prenup. Sometimes I feel it's not even worth it marrying him when he is coming up with such demands trying to use the situation that I am pregnant and I don't have much time to be able to abort. May be he is just not worth it. But he claims and I can feel he loves me and wants me in his life, but there is no gurentee for a marriage to be life long and I want to take away any luxuries to get divorced easily. He has been divorced onece before whereas I have never been married and he says because he had to go thru divorce earlier, he doesn't want all that problems related to property again as he has worked very hard to make up this property. I don't understand why people want to get married when they are so afraid of getting divorced.
I am young and can go for another guy anytime. I just need to know all the legal details to make it less easy for us to just walk away any day will all our separate earnings with no fear of loosing anything. I wouldn't want to get married, if this is going to be the case. Advise please.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
All property acquired during the marriage is marital property, subject to equitable distribution, unless you have a written agreement that says otherwise. You become the legal owner of the house on the day of the closing, not before. So that's going to be marital property.
Payments made toward a mortgage on a spouse's separate property, however, are marital property. They wouldn't give you an ownership interest in his house, but if you one day divorce, you're entitled to a refund of half the mortgage payments made, plus appreciation on a percentage of the property (based on the amount of the mortgage payments).
Anything he owned and paid off before the marriage is his. If marital fund are used to improve the property, that could give you a claim to reimbursement and appreciation, just like with the mortgage payments. A prenuptial agreement is never obsolete, and it does give him extra protection. Many people prefer the protection of a prenup over general state laws.
Debts acquired after the marriage are typically joint debts, but if only one spouse gets the benefit from them, the judge can assign remaining debt to that person. The most common place you'll see this is with cars - the spouse that takes a car purchased during the marriage is nearly always assigned the associated debt. Judges will not get involved with how a married couple spent their money before getting divorced - it's up to the spouses to decide how they want to handle their finances during the marriage. Some couples have joint accounts and share all expenses, but plenty of couples keep their finances 100% separate or share only joint expenses.
I understand your reasons for not wanting a prenuptial agreement, but honestly, if you're looking for an easy way to walk away if necessary - a prenuptial agreement can actually make it easier. It (theoretically) sets out everyone's rights and obligations, so there's nothing to fight over.
The best thing anyone can tell you about a prenuptial agreement is to have YOUR OWN lawyer read it before signing. Do not let his lawyer advise you - that's a violation of the rules of professional conduct. If he refuses to give you time to think about it, you do not have to sign. But the only way to be protected is to have a lawyer who can read through it for you and look for traps. And this is a negotiation. You don't have to agree to whatever terms he suggests. You can ask for changes or suggest your own terms.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Few additional questions please:1. Though his condo that was closed earlier this year, but he will have mortgage payments for next 10-15 years and want me to contribute half towards it, and if we get divorced, I will get all my contribution plus any appreciation on the property value from the day we get married to divorced, based on the amount or % I contributed towards mortgage? Please confirm again, as I don't want to pay for his mortgage and make his property which is already closed on his name (pending mortgage - not paid off fully) with my hard earned money.2. What happens with the salaries we make and any bonus, benefits, retirements benefits we get during marriage? How are they split if we get divorced? Also what if one of the spouse was full time, always on job; whereas the other half was on job for few years and not half of the years they were married? In that case all salary, benefits, bonus will be divided equally or the one made more salary will get more?3. What if woman had kids and decides to stay home, take care of kids and not work for some years or all the years after having kids - does she get any part of the salary, bonus and benefits + any additional income the husband may be earning during that period (in case of multiple sources of income)?4. So, after marriage if we decide to keep a joint account for common household expenditures, and keep our bank accounts separate as well, in case of divorce will overall money in both or all the accounts we hold be divided equally for both of us or the money in the separate accounts will belong to the account holders?5. How is child support divided among both earning parents, if they get divorced?6. My condo is just under contract but not closed yet, that will be purely a marital property and will belong to both of us and in case of divorce will be divided, even if I pay all remaining mortgage? I paid 10% down payment already and have a contract in hand for this property before marriage, why would it not belong to me? Does it definitely have to be closed before marriage for it to belong to me solely?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
1. It'll be based on what percentage of equity was accumulated through mortgage payments during the marriage.
2. It's all marital property when you divorce. All subject to equitable distribution. It doesn't matter who was working, who wasn't, or how much was made.
3. The salary, bonus, and benefits are ALL marital property. ALL assets acquired during the marriage are marital property. It doesn't matter who was working, who wasn't, or how much was made.
4. Please see #2-3.
5. It's not. Under NY law, the non-custodial parent pays a flat 17% of income for one child. Percentages increase for more than one child. If custody is shared, support can be adjusted accordingly.
6. If you want the condo to be your sole and separate property, you need to purchase it before the marriage and pay for it 100% with money you had before marrying. Otherwise, the same rules as in #1 apply to your property. Marital property is ALL PROPERTY ACQUIRED DURING THE MARRIAGE.
Anything in a prenuptial agreement overrides these general rules. If he wants a prenuptial agreement, you can add language stating that the condo belongs to you alone and he has no claim to it, regardless of when the closing happens or where it is paid for.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
if he wants me to pay half of his mortgage which is almost half of my salary per month, and he get a prenup agreement from me that his condo will remain his in case we divorce, I don't get my contributions+ back? If yes, in that case, I will just be paying towards his mortgage (kind of paying rent) all the time we are married and loose all that money if we divorce? This is bad situation is that's true. He will get almost half of his mortgage paid by me and I will get nothing out of it...
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
If you voluntarily enter that agreement, the judge will enforce it later. If you want to receive a refund of payments made in the event of divorce, the way to protect yourself is to put it in the prenup before you sign (or don't sign it).
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can you tell me what should I make sure is in the pre nup agreement, if I go for it?
I have only one condo which is under contract but not closed yet
Some gold worth $25K
Liquid assets - approx $90K
Money I landed to my sibling - approx $60K ( I will get that back in net 2-3 years)
10% payment made for the condo - approx %70KBut my boyfriend says (though I haven't seen the statements and not sure if all that's true), he has:
2 houses fully paid oversees (not in the US)
2 plots/land oversees (not in the US)
Retirement and portfolio around $700-800K (sounds to high to me, not sure if he really has all this, but I will know when he shows the proof)
Approx $100K in bank liquid assets.
One closed but not paid off condo in the US.Obviously I will have to hire my attorney to make sure there are no catches.
He is pretty verse in these things, so I don't want him to trap me in anything. He is in and out of job most of the times, so after marriage I may end up paying day to day expenses, so I will have to make sure prenup covers that if he really wants it and you also think it will be beneficial to us.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry, but telling you exactly what to put in the agreement would be providing legal advice, which violates state law and the terms and conditions of this site. Any local attorney can help you draft the agreement or add your own terms to an agreement he presents you.
Many people benefit from having a prenuptial agreement when they own property before getting married. Your lawyer will be able to tell you whether, based on your entire financial situation, an agreement is in your best interests.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
To confirm again - even if we don't sign the prenup the pre marital property will belong to the one owned it before marriage?If true then no difference in signing prenup to keep pre marital money assets and property with us as anyway NY state law doesn't divide pre marital property in case of divorce?Please confirm.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
At divorce, the judge divides property accumulated during the marriage. He can also order reimbursement of payments made toward a spouse's separate property, usually in the context of mortgage payments.
A prenuptial agreement can help avoid disputes over what property is marital versus non-marital, and can also be used to help determine how marital property will be divided. Caveats can be added that protect separate property even if assets are later retitled or commingled. It can also discuss spousal support in the event of divorce.
The laws can change, and judges have a lot of discretion. The basic laws offer some protection, but prenuptial agreements provide more.
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