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Hanover Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer

Parties preparing for marriage frequently wonder whether discussing a premarital agreement reflects poorly on their relationship. However, couples often benefit from learning about and entering these marital contracts before getting married. The well-founded prenup can help soon-to-be spouses avoid certain liabilities and better plan their futures.

You can discuss your assets and protect your family’s interests with a Hanover prenuptial agreement lawyer at O’Connor Family Law. With over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience, our team is ready to help you protect your property if you or your fiancé have substantial assets or joint business ventures.

Enforceability of Prenuptial Contracts in Hanover

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 209 §25, calls prenups “antenuptial settlements” and describes them as contracts between anticipated spouses that address property and related rights deemed effective upon marriage. Only seasoned attorneys who understand local law should draft prenuptial agreements for couples because they can make sure everything is included to enable a court to determine that the contract is legally enforceable if challenged in the future. Enforceable contracts have a number of disclosures and guidelines that must be met to avoid the prenuptial agreement being thrown out later.

When challenged, the court must find that the agreement was fair and reasonable at the time it was entered and that it is fair and reasonable at the time it is requested to be enforced without leaving one party as a ward of the state. Additionally, all parties must disclose all relevant assets and liabilities to one another prior to the agreement being executed. Although there is no definitive deadline to execute a prenuptial agreement, the closer the signing is to the date of the wedding, the closer a court will look to determine whether one party may have been coerced or pressured by the other into signing the document before their wedding. If a judge decides the prenup was entered based on coercion, this could invalidate the contract. Each party should retain individual counsel to review any proposed prenuptial legal arrangements so neither side can argue later that they did not understand what they were required to do or the rights they were giving up by agreeing to the terms of the contract.

Potential Terms in Prenups

Mass. Gen. Law, Chap. 209, § 25 describes the permissible contents of written premarital contracts. Because prenups fall under a unique subset of contract law, local courts have the discretion to void or modify overly broad agreements. Typically, parties address the following rights in prenups:

  • Property ownership, transfer, control, and use rights
  • Titles to real property and life estates
  • Alimony
  • Wills, trusts, and estate planning measures
  • Property distribution upon death or divorce
  • Life insurance benefits
  • Financial protections for children from another marriage
  • Other matters involving rights and personal obligations as long as these terms do not violate the law

One of our experienced attorneys in Hanover can help you draft a premarital agreement that addresses issues in your specific situation.

Limitations on Creating and Enforcing Premarital Settlements

Provisions related to children, including child support, custody, visitation, and parental responsibilities upon dissolution, are not enforceable when included in premarital contracts and should not be included. The child’s best interests are defined under Mass. Gen. Law, Chap. 208, § 31 governs custody and visitation arrangements during marriage dissolution proceedings. Therefore, judges may void prenuptial agreements drafted without a local attorney’s aid if unlawful provisions from their bases.

During separation and divorce actions, judges may void informally executed, unfair, or unconscionable prenups. Couples cannot generally hide assets and liabilities from one another when entering a prenuptial agreement. Additionally, premarital contracts are generally unenforceable if the couple never legally marries or enters an illegal marital arrangement.

Because premarital agreements commonly alter or waive certain spousal rights, sensitive issues frequently arise when challenging their validity. Judges often analyze each case’s facts based on the sensitive legal issues arising during certain marital and post-marital disputes.

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