New York Same-Sex Prenup Agreements

In June 2011, New York joined a short list of U.S. states that allow same-sex marriage. Marriage licenses are now issued to gay couples in the following states plus the District of Columbia:

  • Massachusetts
  • Connecticut
  • California
  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire
  • New York

New Jersey, Hawaii, and Illinois permit civil unions with state-level spousal rights. But while there is progress on gay marriage, there is also dissent, including legal challenges [CK1] to same-sex marriage in New York courts.

Why gay couples need prenups

Despite the controversy, same-sex couples have the same concerns when they marry as heterosexual couples. Gay couples make lifelong commitments, jointly own property and financial assets, and even adopt children. Therefore, they must take the same steps to prepare for marriage, including prenuptial agreements. With this document, the couple determines how their property will be handled upon their divorce or death, including the following issues:

  • List all property, supporting documents and statements
  • Decide which assets would be marital assets or kept separately as non-marital assets
  • Plan how debts and bills will be paid
  • Decide how to handle the fact that transfers between partners will still be taxable by the IRS
  • Determine the division of retirement accounts
  • Address partner and child support payments

It is advisable to have a four-way negotiation that includes the two partners and their lawyers. Make sure the terms are fair to both partners. Consult a tax attorney or CPA for advice.

If you are in a same sex relationship and want to prepare a prenuptial agreement, you should consult a highly qualified divorce lawyer who can provide Long Island, New York residents with free consultations and the resources to craft thorough, equitable prenuptial agreements.


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