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Rockland & Westchester County Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Family > Foreign Prenuptial Agreement Vacated by New York Courts in Divorce Action

Foreign Prenuptial Agreement Vacated by New York Courts in Divorce Action


Broadly speaking, prenuptial agreements are enforceable under the law. The law doesn’t care whether or not the agreement disadvantages one party or not. If you signed the prenup, then chances are good that it’s enforceable.

However, complexities arise when the New York courts are asked to uphold an agreement that was entered into under a foreign jurisdiction. In this case, the litigants to the divorce were both born in Mexico and the husband had a prenuptial agreement outlining that certain property that would otherwise be subject to equitable distribution remained his separate property during divorce proceedings. Had the agreement been entered into in the U.S., it would likely have been enforceable. However, in this case, the court determined that it could not confirm that the agreement conformed to requirements made by Mexican law. The defendant’s motion to uphold the agreement was, therefore, dismissed.

Background of the case 

The plaintiff and the defendant were both born and married in Mexico. They pursued a divorce in New York State where the court was asked to equitably distribute the marital estate between the two parties. The court was asked to consider the contents of a prenuptial agreement that was entered into in Mexico. The defendant hoped that the court would enforce the agreement, while the plaintiff hoped that the courts would not.

In this case, the trial court chose not to enforce the agreement. The defendant appealed this decision to the Second Court of Appeals. The defendant was asked to show cause for enforcement of the agreement on February 2, 2022. The alleged prenuptial agreement consisted of a marked checkbox on the marriage certificate electing a “separation property regime.” In April, 2017, the Supreme Court denied the defendant’s motion to enforce the agreement.

According to the appeals court, the evidence submitted by the defendant was insufficient to establish that the marriage certificate containing the separation of property election conformed to the requirements under Mexican law. The court found that the agreement was, therefore, not enforceable in New York.

Understanding prenuptial agreements

 In this case, the defendant could have attempted to negotiate a postnuptial agreement with the plaintiff outlining the distribution of marital property or a determination that specific property was the sole property of the husband. Had the wife agreed to sign the agreement, the order would have been enforceable under New York State law. Instead, the courts couldn’t find any evidence that the agreement was even enforceable under Mexican law. But it goes to show you that you want a well-drafted prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement in place before you take the matter to court. In this case, the courts agreed that the prenup was not enforceable.

Talk to a Rockland County Divorce Lawyer Today 

The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine represents the interests of Rockland and Westchester County residents who are pursuing a divorce. Call our Westchester County family lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing important matters related to the equitable distribution of the marital estate with you today.



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