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Michigan Family Law Blog

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Should I Get a Prenuptial Contract?

As a divorce lawyer, I recommend that everyone contemplating marriage should at least consult with a lawyer about getting a prenuptial agreement.  There are several reasons for this recommendation.  First, as part of the process the parties will have to disclose to each other their income, assets and debts.  I have seen many cases where one party had significant debt that he or she did not reveal to the other party until after the marriage - this is obviously problematic for a good relationship.  It also requires them to discuss what their financial roles will be during the marriage; is it expected that both parties will work or will one party be a home maker, will both parties continue to work after they have a child, do both even want a child or children eventually, how will financial decision making work? 

These are all questions that should be worked out before a marriage.  As a friend of mine says, "marriages are like getting in a plane, you better make sure everything is set before you take-off because you can't get out and fix it once you've started."  After the parties have discussed all of these issues, they may decide not to get a prenuptial, they may get the prenuptial and in some cases, they may decide to delay the marriage to work it out (this is better than getting married and finding out later it is a mistake).  If the parties decide to get a prenuptial agreement, then they should both have some piece of mind that the resulting contract, when prepared  an experienced Michigan divorce lawyer, will be binding and the courts will enforce it if necessary. 
 

When is a Prenuptial Contract Essential?

There are some situations where a prenuptial agreement is truly essential to protect one or both spouses.  Those situations are as follows: where one or both have children from a previous relationship or marriage, where one or both have significant assets or a very high income prior to the marriage, where one or both have or expect an inheritance, and where one or both parties are business owners or involved in a family business.

Where a party has children from a previous relationship, the prenuptial is essential to protect and preserve assets for their children.  The agreement can be used to preserve the assets one has prior to the marriage, the income one earns during the marriage and can protect against the other person claiming a share in those assets in divorce or in estate proceedings. 

Where there are significant assets or high income, the agreement can protect those assets and income and also provide some guarantee that the other spouse is not just a "gold-digger" (there are male and female).  In the case of the inheritance, the prenuptial will protect that inheritance and preserve it for the person that is intended to inherit it or protect it for future generations as well. 

Finally, when a person is involved in a small or family owned business, there are very serious issues if one gets divorced.  For example, even if the other spouse was never involved in the business, the court can order a business evaluation and then based upon that valuation determine the percent to which the other party is entitled regardless of any direct involvement with the business.  Then the business owner, in order to keep running the business will have to pay-off the other spouse or close shop.  There are also issues surrounding how the business owner's income is calculated for purposes of child support or alimony. 

 

Contact a Michigan Family Law Attorney for Assistance

Prenuptial agreements can be extremely complicated. With all of the other preparations for a wedding ceremony and reception, couples often overlook this very important item.  The key to dealing with this in a way that protects your best interests is to seek advice from an experienced Michigan family law attorney before making any decisions. A family lawyer can help you take steps that protect your future and your children’s futures. Contact North Oakland Michigan Divorce Lawyer, Cameron C. Goulding, to schedule a consultation by calling (248) 608-4123, by email at goulding@camerongoulding.com or through the northoaklandmichigandivorcelawyer.com website.

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