Pre- & Postnuptial Agreements Attorney in Farmington Hills, Michigan
Getting married is a time for celebration, but for some couples, it is important to address the legal aspects of marriage in writing through a marital agreement. Couples who are not yet married can enter into a premarital agreement, which is more commonly known as a prenuptial agreement. Couples who are already married can enter into a postnuptial agreement. Both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements address each spouse’s legal rights and obligations.
Obviously, no couple wants to think about divorce before the honeymoon is even planned, but there are many benefits to addressing the “what ifs” of marriage, especially when assets are involved that both spouses wish to keep separate. Marital agreements can be flexible to a couple’s wishes and may never become an issue unless a divorce arises. In the event of divorce, couples will want to ensure their marital agreements are enforceable under Michigan law.
Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC has more than two decades of experience representing clients in a variety of legal practice areas, including family law. Serving clients in Bingham Farms, Michigan, as well as Monroe, Pontiac, Mount Clemens, and the metro Detroit, Michigan area, Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC is ready to provide clients with the guidance and advice they need to draft and enter into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Consider reaching out today for a consultation.
Prenuptial Agreements in Michigan
Rather than fear the idea of getting a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, couples should consider how such marital agreements can be beneficial to avoid a nasty court battle in the event of divorce. One way to look at the situation is that by having a valid and enforceable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, couples are less likely to spend tens of thousands of dollars fighting over who gets what property in court. Marital agreements can be crafted to meet each couple’s unique situation.
What is Covered in a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements outline what will happen with each spouse’s property, and what each spouse’s rights and obligations will be, in the event of a divorce or other life situations. Examples of what many prenuptial agreements cover include, but may not be limited to, the following:
Each spouse’s rights with regard to property acquired by each party before the marriage (separate property) as well as property acquired by the married couple after getting married (marital property)
Each spouse’s rights and obligations with regard to spousal support
Keeping debt separate so that each spouse is protected from each other’s debt in the event of divorce
Identification of each spouse’s rights to sell or transfer property during the marriage
How property is to be distributed upon divorce or death
Any other lawful term agreed upon by both spouses
What is Not Covered in a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements don’t cover everything. For example, prenuptial agreements cannot cover the distribution of household duties, such as who cleans the bathrooms, who makes dinner, and who runs errands for the family, among others. Additional matters that cannot be legally included in a prenuptial agreement include, but may not be limited to, the following:
Identification of who will pay child support (and what amount) in the event of divorce (only a judge has authority to decide child support matters)
An agreed-upon child custody arrangement in the event of divorce (like child support, only a judge has authority to decide child custody matters)
The inclusion of a waiver of spousal support rights (where one spouse agrees, ahead of time, to give up their right to spousal support under state law in the event of divorce)
Can a Prenuptial Agreement Be Modified?
Yes, prenuptial (and postnuptial) agreements can be modified with the consent of both spouses. Changes must be made in writing, and spouses should work with a family law attorney to ensure the amendment is enforceable under Michigan state law.
Who Should Get a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements are often used when spouses-to-be have assets or property they want to protect. Asset protection is extremely important for many couples, especially if either spouse has children from a prior marriage, and wants to protect property or assets for the benefit of the children.
Any couple who wants to ensure all rights and obligations of each spouse are in writing may benefit from a prenuptial agreement. A couple that chooses to divorce will have already identified many of the issues that make divorce and family law matters messy. Prenuptials are not only for couples with significant assets. Couples of all walks of life can benefit from the prenuptial agreement in the way many individuals benefit from estate planning.
Why Marital Agreements Are Important
Simply put, marital agreements — including both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements — solidify each spouse’s rights and obligations in a legal document. Without a marital agreement, any life situation could become much more complicated and stressful. Divorce happens to couples who never believed they would end their marriage. Having a marital agreement in place reduces an immense amount of stress and pressure that often arise in a time of divorce.
Ensuring Enforceability by Working with an Attorney
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is meaningless if the document is not enforceable under Michigan law. Choosing to work alongside a family law attorney to draft and execute a marital agreement is a good first step to ensuring the document is legal and will hold up in a court of law. An enforceable marital agreement must meet the following criteria:
The agreement is entered into voluntarily by both parties (not under duress)
The agreement is signed by both parties
The agreement is fair and reasonable given the circumstances of both parties
The agreement is not fraudulent, does not lack consent, is not entered into by any party who is mentally incapacitated, and is not entered into based on undue influence
Because every couple’s situation is different, speaking with a Michigan family law attorney about the enforceability of a marital agreement (prenuptial or postnuptial) is crucial as the law may apply differently depending on one couple’s circumstances.
Family Law Attorney
Serving Bingham Farms, Michigan
If you and your fiance or spouse are considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to outline each other’s rights and obligations, work with an experienced family law attorney for guidance. Serving clients in Bingham Farms, Monroe, Pontiac, Mount Clemens, and the metro Detroit, Michigan area, Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC is ready to provide you with a thorough and impartial consultation.