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Michigan Family Law Blog

Should I Get a Prenuptial Agreement?

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Jul 14, 2021

Should I Get A Prenuptial

If you are considering marriage you have probably at some point thought about whether you should get a prenuptial agreement.  If you live in the State of Michigan, then you should strongly consider getting a prenuptial agreement.  Many people do not realize that when they are entering into a marriage, when they sign the marriage certificate, they are also entering into a contract with one another and the state.  If you separate or divorce after that, then the rules that the state has created will now govern how the separation or divorce and all the ancillary issues that come along, will be handled and there is nothing you can really do at that point to protect yourself.  

Are Prenups Legally Valid in Michigan?

Yes, prenuptials are legal in Michigan, however, it is strongly advisable to hire a Michigan Prenuptial Lawyer to draft the documents and handle the matter.  Prenuptials require careful drafting but they also must meet four (4) criteria to be valid at all.  The first requirement is that the agreement must be in writing and signed before the marriage.  Second, the agreement cannot be obtained through fraud, duress, mistake, or misrepresentation or nondisclosure of a material fact.  Third, the agreement cannot have been unconscionable at the time of the agreement.  Four, when it comes time to enforce the agreement, the facts and circumstances cannot have changed so drastically since the date that the prenuptial was entered into so as to make enforcement of the agreement unfair and unreasonable.

The first statement is relatively straight forward, however the writing should be concise and accurately state how the property will be divided and in some cases, how alimony is to be handled.  The second requirement basically means that one party cannot threaten the other party to get him or her to sign the agreement, the threat of not going through with a wedding is not enough under this requirement.  It also means that the parties must state all material facts, disclose all property, debts, income and children as well as other details.  The third requirement means that the agreement cannot be ridiculously unfair.  This is one reason that both parties to the prenuptial should have attorneys, there is an assumption that prevails in most cases that if a party is represented by an attorney then that agreement was not unreasonable at the time.  The fourth requirement might seem to scuttle the purpose for the prenuptial, but the courts have held that this only means unforeseeable events.  It appears that most events are foreseeable particularly if both parties were represented by an attorney.

Do I Actually Need A Prenuptial Agreement?

It is never a bad idea to at least pay for a consultation to discuss a prenuptial agreement in most cases, if nothing else to understand how the court will handle the division of assets, income and children if the marriage does not work out.  There are some categories of individuals that really must get a prenuptial agreement.  First, there are those who have children from a previous relationship that need to be protected in the even of a divorce or the parent's death.  Second, there is the small business or family business owner whose business or whose family's business might be dragged into the divorce and subject to division.  Third, there are high income earners or highly degreed individuals such as doctors who expect to have a high income, they have to consider not only division of assets but the potential for alimony or spousal support too.  Fourth, there are those who have family wealth that they have already inherited or expect to inherit and those individuals that otherwise already have substantial existing assets.  There are other categories of people that would strongly benefit from a prenuptial agreement but those are the main four that really must get a prenuptial agreement.

If you or a loved one is considering marriage, you should make an appointment to discuss with a knowledgeable Michigan Prenuptial Attorney to schedule a consultation.  It may be the most important conversation that you ever have regarding your financial future.  

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...

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