What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement, also sometimes known as an antenuptial agreement, or a prenup, is a legally binding contract between two soon-to-be-married partners. Many people view prenuptial agreements as cold, unfeeling, and unromantic. In truth, by signing a prenuptial agreement, you are taking wise steps to safeguard yourself, your assets, and your marriage from future conflict should it ever arise. In some situations, prenuptial agreements are highly recommended, such as marriages between two spouses where one spouse has considerably more assets than the other.

The decision of whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you and your partner should be discussed. It may be advisable to consider hiring a family law attorney to help determine whether a premarital agreement is right for your situation.

There is also the option of a postnuptial agreement. Postnuptial agreements may be more difficult to negotiate and enforce than premarital agreements. However, for some, it is nonetheless a legal option that they should consider. Postnuptial agreements seem like they are similar, but are a very different type of agreement, for a completely different situation from a prenup, and must have a very specific set of facts to be enforceable.

What Can and Cannot Be Included in Michigan Prenuptial Agreements?

Michigan prenuptial agreements can cover a great many issues in the instances of a divorce or legal separation. Whether your premarital agreement is enforceable under the law depends greatly upon how the agreement was drafted, whether any party signed the agreement under duress, and what the prenup covers.

Does a Michigan Prenup Address Property Division?

One of the most common causes of conflict in a divorce case or legal separation is the division of assets or property division. Without prenuptial agreements in place, all shared marital property will be divided in a way that is deemed equitable and fair. It is worth noting that ‘equitable’ does not mean even or 50/50. For those hoping to protect their assets from being divided during a divorce, it is wise to consider signing a premarital agreement that takes shared property into account and states terms about how that property should be divided.

Can Your Prenup Affect Retirement Accounts?

Deciding how retirement accounts are handled in the event of divorces or legal separations is another point of contention. Whether retirement accounts are kept by an individual or divided between the two parties can have dramatic impacts on either spouse’s financial future. A prenuptial agreement can dictate how a retirement account will be split up in divorce proceedings and protect your assets from conflict in the event of a contentious divorce.

Do Prenups Control the Terms for Alimony?

Alimony (sometimes referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance) can be another point of conflict for couples splitting up after a long marriage. Alimony is not guaranteed in Michigan divorce cases but can be awarded in certain circumstances when a family law judge deems it necessary, or by agreement. A prenuptial agreement can establish the agreed-upon terms of both spouses in the event of a divorce.

What if You Have Business Interests?

If you or your spouse have any ownership stakes in businesses, you may need to plan for what might happen in the event of a divorce or separation. A family-owned business could be considered shared property like anything else in divorce proceedings and the division of property. A prenuptial agreement can be used to protect your business interests in the event of divorce or separation.

Can Prenuptial Agreements Determine How to Take Care of Debts?

Some outstanding debts may be handled together or separately after a divorce. You can help prevent conflict over disagreements about financial debts by stating intentions of what to do with those debts in a premarital agreement.

Can a Prenup Determine Child Custody or Child Support in MI?

Child support and child custody for any children from the marriage cannot factor into your premarital agreement in any way. (Prenups can include provisions for child custody or support for children from previous relationships, however.) Child support and child custody matters must be decided in family law court according to what is in the best interest of the child. Family law judges must take several factors into account before rendering their decisions on these matters, and will not follow prenup agreements related to custody or child support issues.

Does a Prenuptial Agreement Dictate Personal Preferences for a Marriage?

Prenuptial agreements are primarily concerned with personal assets, real estate property, and financial matters. There are other matters, such as personal preferences for your marriage, that a prenuptial agreement cannot hold any sway over. For example, chore duties, child-raising practices, where the spouses will live or vacation, and other matters may not be included in your prenuptial agreement.

What if the Prenup is Deemed to Be Unfair or Unreasonable?

The terms of a prenup must be considered fair, reasonable, and equitable under Michigan law. The agreement must have been signed voluntarily and without undue influence, fraud, or duress.

Both parties must be forthcoming with all their assets in order for the prenuptial agreement to be considered fair. Prenuptial agreements with unfair language may be unenforceable under the law. There also must have been a full disclosure of all assets and liabilities prior to signing a prenup.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation with Experienced Attorneys Today

Prenuptial agreements are strongly encouraged for many parties considering entering into a marriage in Michigan. A prenup is especially recommended for those with large estates or especially valuable assets. For legal advice about what to include (or not include) in your prenup agreement, it is recommended that you speak with lawyers experienced in handling prenuptial agreements and divorces in the state of Michigan.

Our law firm has years of experience providing legal representation to our clients considering prenuptial agreements and the many benefits of said agreements. We would be proud to help you determine what kind of language is right for your prenuptial agreement and help you draft that agreement. To learn more, please contact us for a free case evaluation. (248) 290-6675.