Family law

What is a Prenuptial agreement?

A Prenuptial Agreement, also called Prenup or Pre-marital agreement, is a contract between two individuals intending to marry which affirms, modifies, or waives a marital right or obligation during the marriage, at separation, or at the death of a spouse.

To get help in drafting and executing this prenuptial agreement, it is recommended for you to hire a family lawyer familiar with Ohio laws. Online cheap versions can turn into a very expensive mess, as there is more than meet the eyes. See how Consumers Reports evaluates these online companies.

What does a Prenuptial agreement cover?

The Prenuptial Agreement lists both of the party’s assets and liabilities upon entering their marriage and spells out how the couple will handle aspects of their marriage. The parties should be honest and disclose all their thoughts, feelings, and assets. Parties should discuss the agreement early in their relationship and should not wait until just prior to the wedding to start preparations.

A Prenuptial Agreement can affirm, modify, or waive rights and obligations. Common areas covered by a pre-marital agreement include spousal support, property rights, responsibility for liabilities, and the award and allocation of attorney’s fees and costs.

Attorney Heather Johnston, Divorce and Family lawyer, can discuss all the issues involved in your case and guide you in the drafting and execution of the Prenuptial Agreement.

Who needs Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenuptial Agreements are not just for couples dealing with a lot of wealth or financial inequality. Nor does Prenuptial Agreement mean that a couple is anticipating a divorce. Prenuptial Agreements are for couples interested in facing important financial matter head-on before a marriage. Many couples who have this honest financial discussion prior to their marriage find it to be a positive experience and rest assured that they have protected their interests.

Does a Prenuptial Agreement give me any guarantee as to possession of myassets?

Just having a Prenuptial Agreement does not guarantee that the court will enforce the terms agreed to in the document. Pre-marital agreements are often scrutinized by the courts and one of the most important aspects of a Prenuptial Agreement is that is be enforceable should the parties need it. If the court believes the agreement is unduly prejudicial or unfair, it may set aside the agreement. A skilled family lawyer can help you avoid the consequences of a poorly executed Prenuptial Agreement.

There are several reasons why a court might not enforce a Prenuptial Agreement, including:

  1. a party did not execute the agreement voluntarily,
  2. a party was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party,
  3. a party did not voluntarily and expressly waive any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party,
  4. a party did not have an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party,
  5. the party did not have a reasonable amount of time to decide whether to retain a lawyer and consider legal advice provided,
  6. or a party’s consent was involuntary or obtained as a result of duress.

What is excluded from Prenuptial Agreement?

While a Prenuptial Agreement can cover a wide scope of issues upon entering a marriage there are terms that cannot be included in a Prenuptial Agreement. These unenforceable terms include:

  1. child support,
  2. limit or restriction of remedies available to a victim of domestic violence,
  3. attempt to modify the grounds for legal separation or marital dissolution available under state law,
  4. penalties of a party for initiating legal separation or divorce proceedings,
  5. definition of the rights or duties of the parties regarding custodial responsibility, legal decision making, or parenting time.

In order to ensure that you have a comprehensive Prenuptial Agreement that will withstand the scrutiny of the court, it is important to choose a lawyer who is not only experienced in family law, but who will negotiate and draft a loving, fair, and enforceable agreement.

Contact Attorney Heather Johnston, family law specialist  in Portage County (330-296-8000) and Summit County (330-686-2890), to book an appointment for a complete review or your best options. 

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