Prenuptial agreements, commonly referred to as “prenups,” are increasing in popularity, and not just for the wealthy. More and more couples are using prenuptial agreements to determine custody of pets as well as to put into place emotional protections, such as a requirement for counseling prior to a divorce.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prior to marriage, couples may sign a prenuptial agreement. This legal document lays out in advance how assets will be divided if the couple splits. It may also cover issues such as alimony, inheritance, life insurance, and even how things will be handled if one spouse dies. In short, a prenuptial agreement protects both parties if the marriage does not go quite as planned.
Advantages of a Prenuptial Agreement
No one wants to think that their marriage will end, but a prenuptial agreement offers many protections for you and your finances in the event that something does go wrong. Particularly in marriages including children from other relationships, businesses, land, and large amounts of assets, prenuptial agreements can be essential for ensuring that divorce is not any more difficult than it already is.
While some issues, such as child support and custody, cannot be covered by prenuptial agreements in Michigan, many others are made much simpler. Among other things, prenuptial agreements can eliminate the need to determine the following in the event of a divorce:
- Division of debts
- Possession of valuable items, such as family heirlooms
- Alimony payments
- Possession of real estate
Having these decisions made in advance can relieve the stress of divorce. So long as a prenuptial agreement is determined to be fair and reasonable at the time of divorce, it will hold up in court, making the division of assets one less issue to decide.
When a Prenuptial Agreement Will Not Work
Although prenuptial agreements typically make dividing assets and debts simpler, there are situations in which a prenuptial agreement cannot be enforced. This typically stems from a dramatic change in circumstances. For instance, one spouse may have ceased working to stay home with children born into the marriage or one spouse may have accrued a large amount of debt. Because this alters the couple’s financial situation, the prenuptial agreement may no longer be fair or reasonable.
In the event that a prenuptial agreement is deemed unfair or unreasonable, the couple or the court will have to decide on a new, more equitable division of debts and assets. If you have a prenuptial agreement, it is advisable that it be revised or amended whenever your circumstances change so that the agreement can remain in effect should the marriage end.
Contact a Family Law Attorney
To ensure that your prenuptial agreement will hold up in court, it is important that you contact the attorneys at Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. to draft your prenuptial agreement and to handle any revisions or amendments. In the unfortunate event that the agreement is ever put to the test, you will want the best, most experienced family law attorney by your side to help enforce it.