Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement is a legal agreement entered into between two people before they are married, that can cover many issues dealing with property rights and assets. While bringing up the subject of a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement can be stressful and must be done delicately, these agreements play an essential role in protecting each spouse’s property rights in the event of a divorce. Divorce is the farthest thing from your mind when you get married, but these agreements can protect your own separate property, the inheritance rights of children from prior relationships, and your business partners. In addition to the traditional role of division and distribution of assets in the event of divorce, prenuptial agreements can also cover death, incapacity, student debt, spousal support and other legal issues.
Although there are online forms for prenuptial agreements, they are likely going to be a waste of your time and money. Because there are complex legal issues involved, you need to understand your rights and those rights vary from state to state. An online approach is risky and may not be complete and you may find yourself with an agreement that is completely unenforceable.
Drafting a Valid Prenuptial Agreement in Massachusetts
For a prenuptial agreement to be considered valid in Massachusetts:
- It needs to be in writing—not oral.
- It must be voluntarily signed with no coercion, threats, or force used by one spouse against the other. It should not be signed on the eve of the wedding. We recommend having the agreement completely negotiated and executed not less than a month before the wedding day.
- It has to be fair to both sides.
- Each party must fully disclose information regarding assets, property, income, and debt.
Many people are familiar with prenuptial agreements, yet far fewer are aware that you can also sign a postnuptial agreement. Mature couples that either did or did not have a prenuptial agreement in place at the time they got married may wish to consider creating a postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement is negotiated and drafted during the marriage, rather than before the wedding. Such an agreement can address the many changes that have transpired during the years and can describe what will happen in the event of a divorce or separation.
Never sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement unless you have had it thoroughly reviewed by an experienced family law attorney. If you have been presented with either of these by your spouse, you should immediately to hire your own attorney who can review the document for you. Do not rely solely on the lawyer hired by your spouse.
At Wright Family Law Group, our pre and postnuptial agreement lawyers use our extensive knowledge of family law to provide reliable advice, so you can make an informed decision.
Please contact our firm at 978-851-2291 or online to schedule a consultation with one of our prenuptial agreement lawyers.
For your convenience, appointments may be scheduled during flexible hours. Our office is centrally located in Tewksbury near Route 93 and Route 495. We serve clients in Middlesex and Essex County.