One of the many areas of expertise for a Michigan family law lawyer is drawing up prenuptial agreements. And forget about the stereotypes you see in the movies or on tv. Prenuptial agreements are not just for the wealthy, and they’re not necessarily drawn up to keep assets away from one partner or the other.
As a Rochester Hills family law attorney, it’s becoming increasingly common to be approached by one or both partners to discuss a prenup. Why? Because society is changing, and family situations are increasingly complex.
Prenuptial agreements can help set the groundwork for a successful marriage, especially when there have been previous marriages, relationships, or children from another union.
If you’re considering getting married, add consulting a Michigan family law lawyer to your marriage preparation checklist.
A Prenuptial Agreement is Not Just for the Rich
Throw this myth out right away. Couples of all income levels can benefit from a prenup.
Here are just a few reasons to consider creating prenup before you get married:
- In many families, both partners are income earners – a prenup agreement can outline how income, pensions and retirement savings will be combined.
- Couples are getting married later in life, and may enter the marriage with separate property.
- One or both spouses may have children from a previous relationship.
- One or both partners may be remarrying, own a business or family cottage, or even come into the relationship with priceless family heirlooms. While a marriage is about joining your lives together, there may be reasons that you may wish to keep some property separate.
A Prenuptial Agreement Kicks off the “Money Talk”
Any Michigan family lawyer will tell you that disagreements about money management is one of the top reasons for divorce. Differing approaches to financial goals and poor spending habits create stress on a marriage, tearing couples apart. And yet surprisingly, many don’t talk about money before marriage.
Creating a prenuptial agreement kick starts the money talk, allowing you to address among other things, issues like:
- Child and spousal support from a previous relationship.
- How you will handle debt incurred prior to the start of the relationship.
- How you may handle debt incurred during the relationship.
- Division of retirement funds and life insurance proceeds.
- How you will divide financial accounts, and how finances will be managed.
A Prenuptial Agreement Can Take Some of the Sting Out of a Divorce
While couples don’t typically begin their marriage considering divorce. An estimated 41% of first marriages in the US end in divorce, and that number skyrockets with second and third marriages.
Should you divorce, a prenup can cover division of assets, making the process of divorce quicker and less unpleasant for both parties.
A Prenuptial Agreement Can Protect You
With that in mind, a well-crafted prenuptial agreement can help protect your financial well being during the marriage, and if it ends.
While you may decide to visit the same lawyer to draw up an agreement, it’s strongly recommended that you have your agreement reviewed by a separate, qualified Michigan family law lawyer prior to signing. You want to make sure that the agreement is truly in your best interest, and that all critical items are covered.
It’s Important to be Clear, Open and Honest with Your Michigan Family Law Lawyer
Drawing up a prenuptial agreement is not the time to be secretive about your assets, finances, dreams, or concerns. It’s important that you are open and honest with your Michigan family law lawyer so they can help craft an agreement that reflects your true situation.
It’s equally important that your prenuptial agreement is clear, valid, and enforceable.
Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act
In order to help ensure fairness, Michigan has adopted a set of rules called the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act, that requires the following for a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable:
- The agreement must be fair, equitable, and reasonable under the circumstances.
- It must be entered voluntarily with full disclosure from both parties, and all rights understood.
- It must be free from fraud, signed with clear consent, with each party protected due to mental incapacity or undue influence.
- Both spouses must sign the agreement.
In addition, if the prenuptial agreement is used in a divorce case, the facts and circumstances of the relationship cannot have too radically since the agreement was signed. If that is the case, it may be unfair to enforce the existing agreement.
Want to Learn More? Contact Michigan Family Law Lawyer Stephanie Krane-Boehmer
Stephanie has vast experience with your divorce settlement, drawing up prenuptial agreements, parenting agreements, parental rights, child support, spousal support and many other Michigan family law issues. When experience counts, you can trust Michigan family law lawyer Stephanie Krane-Boehmer to provide sound legal advice and fight to protect your interests. Contact Stephanie for a free consultation today.