Marital Agreement Lawyers
Assisting Clients in Westborough and Surrounding Areas in Worcester County
It seems to be one of our basic instincts as humans to protect ourselves, our families, and our assets throughout our lives. What does this look like when you legally marry someone else? What if their vision of what matters is different from yours? What does that mean for you and your children or your assets in the event of a divorce?
Having a marital agreement in place can help alleviate these types of questions for you and your partner. The topic itself isn’t always easy to discuss for couples, as no one enters into a marriage planning for divorce. But a marital agreement can offer peace of mind to both parties, knowing that should the worst happen, some of the topics that are most sensitive are already covered, allowing for a less combative divorce.
O’Connor Family Law Firm has assisted many people over the years with their marital agreements, and we look forward to helping you too. Call us at (774) 315-4220 today to learn more.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A Prenuptial Agreement or “prenup” is a document that details the couple’s expectations in the event of a divorce. It can specify things relating to their assets, whether or not alimony (spousal support) will be paid, who can keep future assets such as an inheritance, and how insurance policies are handled, for example. It can also detail how assets are split between children from prior relationships and things like how property will be separated between the parties.
Not all prenups are enforceable, and therefore it’s crucial to make sure you have created one that follows the guidelines so that it is deemed valid by the courts if you should need to use it in the future. Some of the items that are reviewed by the courts for validity/enforceability purposes are whether both parties were transparent in sharing their complete financial pictures with one another at the time of the prenup. Was either party hiding assets? Was everything discussed and documented so that both parties could make a well-informed decision to sign the prenup? Another aspect is the timeline of when the prenup was signed in relation to the wedding date. There isn’t a specific timeline required, but judges mostly want to make sure both parties had ample time to review the prenup and make a decision in their best interests. They also want to make sure that both parties had legal representation so their rights and expectations could be well defined and understood as it was stipulated in the prenup. Finally, they want to make sure both parties entered into the prenup without coercion or threats from the other party.
An infidelity clause may also be included in a prenup in Massachusetts. These generally state that in the event one of the parties cheats on the other, some sort of financial penalty will result. This can include things like the denial of alimony or incurring a certain amount of money awarded to the party that was cheated on.
A social media clause can also be added to establish guidelines for both parties as it pertains to what types of comments or activities are permissible on social media during the marriage. If one of the parties doesn’t follow the guidelines, they may be subject to financial penalties.
What Is a Postnuptial Agreement?
Similar to a prenup, a postnuptial agreement, or “postnup,” has gained more popularity over the years. They weren’t always recognized in all states but are now part of Massachusetts Marital Agreements. A postnup also helps to protect assets and outline expectations in the event of a divorce. They are created after the couple has married, therefore postnuptial.
Postnuptial agreements are created for various reasons, but some of the most common arewhen one spouse is protecting a future inheritance, there has been a significant change in the income of one or both parties, or a business ownership clarification is needed, for example.
There are several factors, just as in the case of the prenuptial agreements, that judges will scrutinize to determine the validity of the document. Most of the same information, such as whether or not both parties had sufficient legal counsel to help them thoroughly understand the implications of the document, ample time to review or edit the document, and whether or not both parties were transparent when documenting their debt and income, is reviewed to make sure both parties’ best interests have been considered.
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What Information Is Prohibited in Marital Agreements?
Though both parties are encouraged to be specific with their expectations upon divorce when it comes to assets, this does not include things such as child custody or child support, personal preferences in raising the children, where to spend holidays, and other matters that aren’t specific to monetary concerns for the couple. It may seem like it is in your best interest to include these items, but in the eyes of the court, these matters aren’t directly related to your financial assets and therefore are to be left out of marital agreements.
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