Unconscionability and Prenuptial Agreements in New York

Jeremy D. MorleyIn New York there is a strong public policy favoring individuals ordering and deciding their own interests through contractual arrangements, including by prenuptial agreements. Accordingly, duly executed prenuptial agreements are accorded the same presumption of legality as any other contract. Thus, under New York law, a prenuptial agreement is presumed to be valid unless the party challenging the agreement meets a very high burden of showing that it was the product of fraud, duress, overreaching by one spouse resulting in manifest unfairness to the other spouse, or unconscionability.An agreement is “unconscionable” if it is one “which no person in his or her senses and not under delusion would make on the one hand, and no honest and fair person would accept on the other, the inequality being so strong and manifest as to shock the conscience and confound the judgment of any person of common…

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