Wedding season is officially here! With wedding season kicking off, lovebirds all over Michigan are discussing their future together. A great long-term planning strategy for couples contemplating marriage is to consult with an attorney to discuss a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement allows a couple to define the terms on which their pre-marital assets, potential inheritances, and any desired marital assets, are to be distributed in the event of a dissolution of their marriage. Although some couples believe prenuptial agreements “jinx” a marriage, they often do the exact opposite. Discussions prior to marriage about finances and family dynamic ensure that both individuals are informed about all relevant assets, income sources, and potential future financial gains.
A prenuptial agreement can include a large range of terms and provisions. Division of property may be directly dependent on the duration of the marriage. Specific real estate and personal property may be allocated to one spouse or the other. Although prenuptial agreements may indirectly address children, in Michigan they do not include provisions about custody and parenting time. A constructive way to address children conceived by the couple is to include provisions requiring that the couple remain in close geographic proximity to one another if their marriage dissolves. This encourages a cohesive transition to co-parenting should the need arise. Discussing sensitive matters prior to marriage can help to set a positive tone between the couple and promote constructive communication skills which can prove very effective within the marriage.
Prenuptial agreements may also have an additional benefit of being coordinated with the couple's estate plan documents. Although many people associate prenuptial agreements and estate plan documents as being entirely separate and distinct from one another, an experienced estate planning attorney can ensure that all documents achieve a couple's goal in a consistent manner. An example of potential coordination is to include provisions in a prenuptial agreement which address duration of marriage if one spouse passes away and the amount of assets which the widow or widower will receive. Proper coordination of provisions within various documents and agreements helps to ensure that couples are provided with a complete and consistent approach to addressing real and personal property.
Prenuptial agreements are not exclusively restrictive documents. Prenuptial agreements set a baseline amount of assets to be distributed upon dissolution of the marriage. With a valid prenuptial agreement in place, a couple may choose to add property or income through additional mechanisms to supplement the initial property allocated to each spouse.
Call or click today for a prenuptial consultation to discuss a comprehensive and complete plan with a GLFPE attorney at 1-888-554-5373, [email protected].