What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
As a couple prepares for marriage, they can choose to hire an attorney to draft their prenuptial agreement. This “prenup” agreement outlines the division of assets in the event of divorce or death. This protects both parties, should separation ever occur. Prenuptial agreements are normally enforceable under Michigan law, so long as the agreement is properly prepared.
A prenuptial agreement – also commonly called a prenup or an ante nuptial agreement – must be fair to both parties in order to be valid. Each spouse must also disclose all assets and all debts. Creating a prenup for you and your spouse can allow you to discuss your finances, debts and your future. If can also help you avoid conflict later on, should your marriage end.
Because a prenuptial agreement is meant to protect you, it is important that it be done properly. For this reason, we recommend hiring an experienced family law attorney to anyone entering a prenuptial agreement. Your attorney can help you draft an agreement, or can review a document that you and your spouse have drafted. However, you will usually end up with a better agreement if your attorney writes the agreement from scratch. Normally, the same cannot attorney represent both parties to the agreement. That means that both sides should hire their own attorney.
What’s Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?
The amount of detail included in your prenuptial agreement is up to you and your soon-to-be spouse. Generally speaking, the more assets you and your spouse have, the more detailed your prenuptial agreement will likely be.
Some couples decide to put major items in their prenuptial agreement and include a general idea of how they would like the rest of their finances and assets to be split. Other couples decide to itemize everything, from their home and cars, down to their silverware. Some couples write prenups to only be effective in the event of divorce (and not death).
You can choose which details you would like to include in your prenuptial agreement. The important part is simply that this document is written properly. Couples that have children from prior relationships often want more detail in their prenuptial agreement to enable them to deal with premarital assets.
How Can I Ensure That My Prenuptial Agreement is Drafted Properly?
The best way to make sure that your prenuptial agreement was drafted properly is to take your thoughts to an attorney to draft it. It is vital that your prenuptial be drafted properly because, otherwise, you run the risk of it being unenforceable. Michigan law currently has a large number of requirements for valid premarital agreements.
Sometimes, even a properly drafted prenup is declared void if assets and debts appear to be divided in a deliberately unfair manner. Similarly, a prenuptial agreement can also be declared void if the terms become extremely unfair over the years. Michigan’s appellate courts have become skeptical of prenuptial agreements in the last decade or so and for that reason, our attorneys pay very close attention to the details that we include in the agreement.
It is possible to find online templates to create your prenuptial agreement, but these can be risky because they won’t be tailored to your specific situation or maybe to the most recent rulings, case law and statutes.
We recommend that you see an attorney to draft your prenuptial because it is a complicated process. You also should do all you can to make sure that your prenuptial is properly drafted to have the greatest chance of it being enforceable in the future. A properly drafted prenup could be costly, but will likely save you a lot of money in the future, should your marriage come to an end.
Other than simply a division of assets and debts, your prenuptial agreement will also include identifying information such as the full names of you and your spouse, as well as your birthdates. You will also need to include information on any previous marriages and whether these ended in death or divorce. There will also be a full disclosure of assets, liability, incomes, premarital assets and so on.
For couples looking to create a prenuptial agreement that will withstand the test of time, the smartest thing to do is hire two knowledgeable attorneys for assistance. Each spouse should hire their own attorney so that the attorney can help advise the spouse on how to create a fair agreement that will be in their best interests.
Our family law attorneys here at The Kronzek Firm have decades of experience helping couples draft successful prenuptial agreements. We can help guide you through every step of the process.
In addition, our lawyers are experienced at challenging prenuptial agreements that clearly have not been written correctly, or that have unfair terms. We have been able to convince judges to set aside prenuptial agreements for a variety of reasons.
Should I Get a Prenuptial Agreement?
A lot of people are hesitant to enter into a prenuptial agreement. Many are afraid that getting a prenuptial agreement is asking for a divorce. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that over 50% of marriages in Michigan end in divorce. Because of this, the smart thing to do is prepare for the worst. Entering into a prenuptial agreement is great way for you and your spouse to protect yourselves.
Another important situation to consider is that prenuptial agreements are not just for divorcing couples. Prenuptial agreements are also used when the marriage ends in death. Debts and assets will often be split in the event of death. For instance, if a spouse passes away and wants to give money or assets to children from a previous marriage, it is a good idea to outline this is a prenuptial agreement. This is the best way to make sure that this person’s wishes are honored.