Marital Agreement Lawyers in Hanover, MA Answering Clients’ Questions about Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements
Many of us have a strong desire to protect our families and our assets before or during a marriage. Setting up marital agreements is a way of doing that and giving you peace of mind in a sometimes uncertain world. A prenuptial agreement is entered into by both parties prior to marriage, and a postnuptial agreement refers to the agreement made after the couple has entered into a marriage. Both are used to determine what is to be expected should the marriage fall apart and how that will affect the couple’s assets, children’s lives, and more. When done accurately, they can be incredibly beneficial in ensuring your future is in good hands.
O’Connor Family Law has helped many couples in their quest for some certainty in these situations, and we have the necessary experience to make sure that your marital agreements are handled properly and are enforceable should they need to be in the future. Contact us today at 774-214-2137 to have your specific questions answered and learn how we can help.
What Does a Prenuptial Agreement Cover?
Some of the main points that prenups cover are how debts will be handled upon divorce, whether either spouse will receive alimony at the time of divorce, whether either spouse must provide health care coverage for the other upon divorce, how the children from prior relationships are going to be regarded in terms of what assets/financial benefits they are to receive if any, and the separation of property acquired either before or during the marriage.
Judges will look for certain items to determine whether or not the terms of the prenup are enforceable or valid. One of the items is the timing of the prenup–whether or not the decision was rushed by either party prior to the wedding. There isn’t a specific timeline mentioned, but to protect the interest of both parties, the judge will want to see that there was ample time to follow the other steps in creating an enforceable prenuptial agreement. One of them is whether or not both parties were transparent in sharing their complete income and debts with the other. If any of this information is withheld, it can be cause for the prenup to be thrown out. Judges also look to make sure that both parties had legal representation so that their rights and responsibilities were specifically defined and understood as it was laid out in the prenup. Furthermore, they will want to make sure that neither party felt forced to enter into the marital agreement and that they both had a clear understanding of the specifics mentioned.
What is the Importance of a Postnuptial Agreement?
Postnuptial Agreements or “postnups” weren’t always enforceable in all states, and as legislation has evolved, they are now recognized in Massachusetts. They are created in a similar fashion to a prenup, in that they are meant to protect assets and outline responsibilities or duties for each party in the event of a divorce. Certain criteria need to be met in order for the agreements to be enforceable, and they are listed below.
Each party should have access to independent counsel in regards to their postnup, and there should be no presence of coercion on either party for the agreement to have been put in place. Any and all assets should have been discussed prior to creating the agreement, not withholding any info from either party. Also, whether or not the terms of the agreement were fair and reasonable both at the time the agreement was created, and at the time it will be enforced are looked at to determine the validity of the agreements. Whether or not the courts will view all aspects as fair and reasonable is complex, but generally speaking, the length of the marriage, the motives of each spouse, and the financial and property division expectations as a whole are all aspects the judge will take into consideration.
What is Off Limits in Marital Agreements?
As Marital Agreements are generally outlining financial information only, items such as child custody, physical arrangements, or employment are prohibited and will need to be handled separately. It is in the best interest of both parties, however, to be specific as to their expectations in the division of assets and financial affairs upon a divorce.
What are the Benefits of Marital Agreements?
No one enters into a marriage intending for it to end in divorce. The reality is that divorce is common, and having a valid marital agreement in place can help streamline the process of a divorce, thereby saving both parties money and stress. There are other aspects that will have to be resolved, but having a guideline for one of the most important issues in divorce (money or assets) ahead of time can lessen the burden on either or both parties during an already stressful time in their lives.
O’Connor Family Law has helped multiple families in planning for the sometimes uncertain future, and we have several years of experience in helping people just like you through this process. We look forward to assisting you in your specific needs so you can rest assured that in the event of a divorce, some of the main issues are already taken care of, and you can focus what’s left of your energy on the other areas of contention. Call us today at 774-214-2137 to find out more about how we can help you.