In New York, prenuptial agreements are governed by the Domestic Relations Law. Revenge clauses are clauses and/or provisions that are often referred to as, “penalty clauses”, which are clauses that penalize the behavior of a spouse, such as cheating or infidelity.
Such clauses are generally disfavored by courts across the United States, and many states have laws that prohibit or limit the enforceability of such provisions. Although some states may allow for certain types of clauses, it is important to be familiar with the laws of the specific state where the agreement is being made, as well as the facts and circumstances particular to the case.
In New York, revenge clauses are generally unenforceable. The state’s courts have consistently held that provisions that penalize a spouse for certain conduct are against public policy and are therefore, unenforceable.
New York law does, however, permit prenuptial agreements to address issues regarding property division, spousal support, as well as inheritance rights. These provisions must be fair and reasonable. The agreement must be entered into voluntarily and with full disclosure of assets and liabilities.
As with all matters that are complex, it is strongly advised that anyone considering a prenuptial agreement seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can assist in helping the client understand their rights and obligations under the law.