Prenuptial agreements are contracts entered into by couples who are contemplating getting married to one another. Couples may decide to enter into a prenuptial agreement for various reasons, but usually it is because they want to address how certain property is going to be divided in the event the parties separate and divorce down the road. A prenuptial agreement can also include provisions that waive a spouse’s right to alimony/spousal support.
Although a couple can agree to a wide array of issues in a prenuptial agreement, a couple cannot agree to anything that is against public policy. That is, the parties cannot agree to something illegal or a provision that is against the tenets of our society.
For a prenuptial agreement to be valid, it must be in writing and signed by both parties. It is good practice to have both signatures notarized, and in order for your prenuptial agreement to be valid against third party creditors, it must be registered at the Register of Deeds.
It is important to note that prenuptial agreements do not spring into effect until the parties are actually married to one another. Once married, the agreement is then in effect. However, a prenuptial agreement can be revoked or even amended at any point during the marriage, but only by a written agreement that is signed by both parties.
Lastly, and more practically, if you are considering entering into a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse, it is very important that you hire an attorney that not only understands the legal requirements of a prenuptial agreement, but also that your attorney has the tact and understanding of the sensitivity of the situation as a whole. Discussing how finances and property are going to be split if your marriage fails (before it even starts) can be a delicate and awkward conversation. As such, the drafting and negotiation of a prenuptial agreement is not the time for contentiousness, but rather, it is a time for your attorney to help keep the peace while helping you reach an agreement. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, contact an attorney at Smith Horton Law to discuss your needs.
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