Do you need a prenuptial agreement before your Michigan marriage?

A prenuptial agreement can be useful in a variety of situations such as disparate assets or income, debts or business ownership.

Prior to 1991, prenuptial agreements were invalid in Michigan because such agreements were thought to encourage people to divorce. However, a court ruled that the state could enforce prenuptial agreements. Today in 2014, each couple preparing for marriage in Michigan needs to decide whether they need to draft prenuptial agreements prior to their wedding dates.

When are prenuptial agreements useful?

Prenuptial agreements are helpful in a variety of situations. If you are going into the marriage with more assets than your future spouse, such as a house or a portfolio of investment accounts, you may want to consider using a prenuptial agreement to determine how those assets will be treated in the event of divorce. Similarly if you or your future spouse has a great deal of pre-marital debt, you might think about assigning responsibility for that debt with a premarital agreement. If you earn a lot more money than your future spouse, you should consider using a premarital agreement to put a limit on how much spousal support you will pay if you get divorced.

A premarital agreement can be particularly helpful if this is not the first marriage for you or your future spouse. You can spell out which expenses for children from former marriages each spouse will be responsible for and which assets go to children and which go to spouses in the event of death or divorce.

Finally, business owners should consider prenuptial agreements as a way to prevent their spouses from having an ownership interest in the businesses after divorce.

When are Michigan prenuptial agreements enforceable?

Michigan courts will enforce prenuptial agreements if they meet the following conditions:

  • There was no fraud, duress, mistake, misrepresentation or non-disclosure of material information when executing the agreement.
  • The agreement was not unconscionable when the parties executed it.
  • It would not be unfair to enforce the agreement because of a change in facts or circumstances.

One best ways to ensure that a prenuptial agreement is enforceable is to provide full financial disclosure to your partner. Additionally, each party should have adequate time to review the agreement with the assistance of an independent attorney.

Who can assist you with a prenuptial agreement?

It may be tempting to try to use a "do-it-yourself" form to draft your prenuptial agreement. However, you should consult an experienced prenuptial agreement attorney to help you. A lawyer can help you draft an agreement that will be enforced by the courts and will protect your interests. If you have questions about prenuptial agreements, talk to a skilled prenuptial agreement lawyer who can advise you about how you should proceed.

Keywords: prenuptial agreement; divorce; spousal support; property division