Prenuptial agreements are contracts entered into prior to marriage that help protect the assets of one or both parties in the marriage. Even though prenuptial agreements are generally written to be specific about the terms, those terms are often contested in the event of a divorce. It’s hard enough untangling interstate prenuptial agreement issues, but trying to figure out prenuptial contracts that involve people from other countries can be extremely difficult. New Yorkers and others who are involved in divorces involving prenups where the agreements have to be enforced across borders may find the process confusing without the help of a legal professional.

In general, U.S. courts often honor prenuptial agreements that were signed in other countries as long as those contracts were legally entered into and extremely clear. This means the spouse who wants to make sure that the prenuptial agreement is enforced has to prove that their soon-to-be ex-spouse entered into the agreement willfully and freely. There have been cases, however, where courts may base their decisions on the specifics of the marital laws of the countries involved.

Another way that courts may try to ensure that both parties entered freely into the prenuptial agreement will be to confirm that the agreement was written in each spouse’s native language. They may also confirm that each spouse had access to adequate representation.

Prenuptial agreements involving foreign spouses can be tricky, so people entering into these types of agreements may benefit by working with lawyers who have experience in international matrimonial law. By working with these lawyers before the marriage, each party may help ensure that their interests have a better chance of being protected in the event of a divorce.