In Michigan, a postnuptial agreement allows you, as a married couple, to decide exactly how you will divide your property in the event one spouse dies, or you get a divorce. It can also predetermine the issue of spousal support or alimony. In this way, it performs the same function as a prenuptial agreement but is simply drawn up and executed after you are married and not before.

Oddly though, Michigan courts give postnuptial agreements much greater scrutiny than prenuptial agreements, making postnups much harder to enforce.

A postnuptial agreement in Michigan will not be upheld if it violates Michigan’s public policy against encouraging separation or divorce.

This usually occurs because the postnuptial agreement places you (or your wife) in a much more favorable economic position if they abandon the marriage, leaving the other spouse with very few assets.

Generally, however, Michigan courts recognize that properly negotiated and drafted postnuptial agreements are enforceable in that they promote better marital relations by reducing financial anxiety and allowing the parties to focus on their relationship.

In order for your postnuptial agreement to be enforceable in Michigan, it must meet the following legal requirements:

  • Full disclosure – If you and your wife enter into a postnuptial agreement, you must fully and completely disclose your assets and debts. You must be fully informed of your wife’s assets liabilities.
  • Absence of fraud, mistake, or coercion – Michigan courts won’t uphold your postnuptial agreement if it was obtained through fraudulent means, misrepresented facts, or withheld vital information. Also, your postnuptial agreement would be void if either spouse were “coerced” to sign it.
  • Opportunity for review and attorney advice – You and your wife must be given enough time to thoroughly review the agreement’s contents and comprehend the consequences of signing it.
  • Overall fairness — A postnuptial agreement is never valid under Michigan law if it is “unconscionable.” In other words, it’s unreasonably unfair to either party or violates public policy.
    So, there are many ways that a postnuptial agreement can “fall short” if not drafted and executed in accordance with Michigan’s legal standards . This is why it is so important that you consult with an experienced, knowledgeable Michigan family law firm that is an expert in properly drafting these agreements.

What State Laws Must My Postnuptial Agreement Have To Adhere To?

If you end up getting divorced, a properly drafted postnuptial agreement normally will be enforced if the parties have negotiated it in good faith and the document meets the standards of Michigan law.

Assets and liabilities are always divided in a divorce. Furthermore, if one spouse dies the other spouse receives certain assets automatically under Michigan law. This could include a business, investments, real estate and other assets. If the postnuptial agreement violates state laws, the Michigan courts may discard the entire document and award your wife more than you had intended or allow her to inherit more of your assets than you had intended. For instance, if you owned assets and had adult children prior to the marriage, you may not want your current wife to inherit those children’s share of your estate.

Likewise, if you intend to prohibit either from seeking or being awarded spousal support or alimony, you must include specific language whereby each party acknowledges his/her waiver of their statutory right to seek spousal support in order for that provision to be enforceable.

Are Custody Conditions Enforceable With a Postnuptial Agreement?

Issues of custody, parenting time and child support always remain within the jurisdiction of the Judge to decide. Therefore, a judge is not bound by the parties’ postnuptial agreement as it pertains to issues concerning minor children. The parties can certainly include their intent on these issues in their agreement and that agreement would be instructive to the Judge as to their desires. But at the end of the day the judge will decide what he or she believes to be in the best interests of the children

What May Constitute “Unreasonable Provisions” in a Postnuptial Agreement?

When you, with the help of your family law firm, draft a postnuptial Agreement, you must be sure that no provision is unreasonable or unfair to either party.
Even if you and your spouse agree on the postnuptial agreement and sign it willingly, it still must be fair and equitable to both parties in order to be enforceable.

Michigan judges will analyze the agreement in detail if either party wishes to challenge in court. The primary cause of unreasonable conditions is a one sided allocation of assets or debts.

I Must Draft a Postnuptial Agreement; How Should I Proceed?

Drafting and formulating an enforceable postnuptial agreement in Michigan is a challenging and detailed legal task. If your agreement is not drawn professionally and with expertise, it may not be held up in court, and your wishes may be discarded entirely.

So, it is wise and vital for you to seek the advice, guidance, and assistance of a Michigan postnuptial agreement lawyer to decide if a postnuptial is right for you and, if so, the best way to structure the agreement to ensure that it will hold up in court.

ADAM will always fight for your rights and draft a legally sound document that will withstand the court’s scrutiny and ensure your wishes are upheld.