Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements

It was once thought that when a couple drafted a prenuptial agreement prior to their wedding, that contract would be upheld in the event that the couple got a divorce in the future. While there were certain limitations, such as the fact that prenuptial agreements could not contain child support provisions, prenuptial contracts were largely upheld in the state. Now, after a decision in a landmark case, the courts have much more to consider, and so does anyone who is drafting a prenuptial agreement.

Prenuptial Agreements Cannot Waive Rights

It is the case of Allard v Allard that will have lawyers drafting prenuptial agreements differently, and advising on how one will be used when a judge is making their decisions. In this ruling, the court stated that a prenuptial agreement cannot compel a court to order a property settlement that is inequitable.

Michigan is an equitable distribution state. When a couple gets a divorce, the marital property they owned together is divided fairly, although not necessarily equally. Prior to Allard v Allard, a prenuptial agreement could essentially divide property any way the couple intended and the contract would still generally be upheld by the court. In Allard v Allard, the court distinguished between a divorcing party’s right to ask for certain things from the court, and the court’s duty to divide property fairly

Essentially, the court in this case found that the parties getting a divorce do not and cannot petition the court to divide property. Due to the fact that there is no petition to the court for the invasion of separate property, the parties cannot waive their right using a premarital agreement.

How to Draft a Prenuptial Agreement

Prior to Allard v Allard, drafting a prenuptial agreement was fairly simple. Today, that has all changed. Today, prenuptial agreements must be fair and fall in line with the equitable distribution laws of the state. There are a few ways to do this, including:

  • Maintain an investment such as a life insurance policy to be awarded to the other party in the event that the separate property of the two parties is deemed inequitable by the court.
  • Include a sunset, or fade-out, provision that provides for the lower-income spouse after a long marriage.
  • Add contingencies that anticipate unemployment, disability, and other situations that may render the contract unfair over time.

The specific provisions of these agreements will now likely require a more extensive investigation into the assets of the parties involved, and the terms in any prenuptial agreement must be customized far more than they were in the past. If you are getting married, it is crucial to speak to a Grand Rapids family lawyer who can draft an agreement that will be upheld in court after this decision.

Our Experienced Family Lawyers in Grand Rapids Can Draft Your Agreement

If you are getting married and need a prenuptial agreement, you need to work with a Grand Rapids family lawyer who knows the law. At Van Den Heuvel Law Office, our seasoned attorneys always stay up to date on the latest developments in family law, so that we can provide the very best service to our clients. Whether you are looking for a well-drafted prenuptial agreement or to challenge a prenuptial agreement, talk to one of our experienced attorneys who can guide you through the process. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

Contact a Knowledgeable Grand Rapids Attorney

For An Initial Consultation

To talk with our attorney about your legal concerns, contact the Van Den Heuvel Law Office by calling 616-698-0000. You may also complete our online contact form. After-hours consultations are available by appointment. We are also available on Skype by appointment.

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