In its December 16, 2021 decision in Anderson v. Anderson, New York’s highest court ruled that the parties to a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement must acknowledge their signatures within a reasonable time of their signing. In a second appeal in Koegel v. Koegel, the Court of Appeals in its same decision also held that if the agreement is acknowledged by the parties at or within a reasonable time after signing, a defect in the acknowledgment certificate form may be cured at a later time by extrinsic proof.

In Anderson, the wife had signed and acknowledged the nuptial agreement the month after the wedding. Regardless of when the husband signed the agreement, his signature was not acknowledged until nearly seven years later, shortly before he commenced a divorce action and in anticipation of his wife’s imminent divorce filing.

In Koegel, the parties executed a nuptial agreement approximately one month before their marriage. The agreement provided that neither party would claim any part of the other’s estate, with both waiving their respective elective or statutory shares. Both parties signed the agreement, and their signatures were acknowledged, each by his or her own lawyer. The acknowledgment followed the statutory requirements in all but one respect: both lawyers failed to attest that the signer was known to them.


Continue Reading Delayed Acknowledgment Invalidates Nuptial Agreement; Defective Form Does Not

Marital and divorce agreements have to be “notarized.” But does the notary have to be present and witness the actual signing?

New York’s Domestic Relations Law §236B(3) states “[a]n agreement by the parties, made before or during the marriage, shall be valid and enforceable in a matrimonial action if such agreement is in writing, subscribed by the parties, and acknowledged or proven in the manner required to entitle a deed to be recorded.”

What does “acknowledged or proven in the manner required to entitle a deed to be recorded” mean.

In her June 1, 2016 decision in B.W. v. R.F., Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Linda Christopher upheld a prenuptial agreement in which the notary’s “acknowledgment” used the wrong wording.


Continue Reading Do Marital and Divorce Agreements Have To Be Signed in the Presence of the Notary?