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Prenuptial Agreements

When it comes to planning your life with your future spouse, it is exciting and busy with the details of the wedding, living arrangements and managing family drama.  However, there may be one item you are not considering or are having difficulty approaching with your future spouse.  That is a prenuptial agreement.  Having this honest discussion about the handling of money and sticky issues such as debt and financial plans for the future is a necessity for any couple about to be married.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

It is a contract entered into prior to marriage that determines what will happen to premarital assets in case the marriage ends or one spouse dies.

Are prenuptial agreements just for the wealthy?

It makes sense to have a prenuptial agreement when one spouse enters a marriage with significant assets of his/her own, but there are other circumstances that a prenuptial agreement should be prepared. For instance, if one expects an inheritance or assets from a family trust or if there is a family business or if one or both parties have children from a prior relationship.

Will a prenuptial agreement decide everything if the marriage ends in divorce?

Although it provides certainty as to what happens to assets in the event of divorce or death, a prenuptial agreement does not dictate all aspects of a divorce, including child custody. A judge will decide what is in the best interest of any children.

Can we prepare a prenuptial agreement without an attorney?

A prenuptial agreement has some formalities.  Most importantly, both parties must disclose all of their assets and debt.  The prenuptial agreement will address many issues and should coincide with your estate plan. There is no law in Michigan requiring both parties to the agreement to have attorneys, although there is no point in preparing a contract that will not be upheld in court and without an attorney, one may not know what to expect in the absence of the agreement.