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

Does a four-day delay in notarization by the mediator/notary of a separation agreement  executed by the parties in a Zoom session with the mediator render the agreement invalid? In his June 29, 2021 decision in Ryerson v. Ryerson, Warren County Acting Supreme Court Justice Richard B. Meyer held it did not.

The parties used William J. McCoskery as mediator to assist them in resolving various matters attendant to their divorce. They met once in person with the mediator, during which he advised both parties to consult with an attorney. Based upon his discussions with the parties, the mediator prepared a 15-page separation agreement and emailed it to both parties for their review. The husband claimed not to have read the complete document.

The Governor declared the Covid state of emergency on March 7, 2020. Notarization using audio-video technology was authorized by Executive Order No. 202.7. That Order provides:

Any notarial act that is required under New York State law is authorized to be performed utilizing audio-video technology provided that the following conditions are met:

    • The person seeking the Notary’s services, if not personally known to the Notary, must present valid photo ID to the Notary during the video conference, not merely transmit it prior to or after;
    • The video conference must allow for direct interaction between the person and the Notary (e.g. no pre-recorded videos of the person signing);
    • The person must affirmatively represent that he or she is physically situated in the State of New York;
    • The person must transmit by fax or electronic means a legible copy of the signed document directly to the Notary on the same date it was signed;
    • The Notary may notarize the transmitted copy of the document and transmit the same back to the person; and
    • The Notary may repeat the notarization of the original signed document as of the date of execution provided the Notary receives such original signed document together with the electronically notarized copy within thirty days after the date of execution.


Continue Reading Delayed Notarization by Mediator Does Not Invalidate Separation Agreement Signed Over Zoom