Prenuptial agreements can be uncomfortable to talk about. When two people are getting ready to be married, they don’t want to think about the possibility that their marriage will one day end. They may believe it’s bad luck to even entertain the possibility. However, many couples find that a prenuptial agreement can actually strengthen a marriage. With a prenuptial agreement in place, each spouse has a thorough knowledge of the other’s expectations, and understands the consequences they will face in a divorce.
A prenuptial agreement, also known as a premarital agreement or an antenuptial agreement, is a contract in which a couple agrees in advance about how they will settle issues should they later decide to divorce. While the agreements can touch on other issues, most are primarily concerned with the division of property. Since property division is often the most time-consuming and technically challenging part of any divorce, settling these issues in advance can save a lot of time, money and frustration.
Requirements of a prenuptial agreement
Generally speaking, Michigan law will enforce a prenuptial agreement so long as it is fair, was executed voluntarily and was entered in good faith. It must be in writing, signed by both parties. It’s a good idea for each party to be represented by their own counsel. The agreement goes into effect once the couple has married.
Should the marriage later end in divorce, the prenuptial agreement should decide the divorce issues addressed in the agreement. For instance, if Michigan law provides that the spouses divide the value of their home 50-50, but a valid agreement says they will divide it 75-25, then the agreement controls the outcome.
However, a court can find an agreement invalid if it believes one party defrauded or unfairly pressured the other when signing it. A court can also rule an agreement is invalid if circumstances have changed so much since the signing of the agreement that upholding the agreement would lead to a grossly unfair outcome.