Michigan Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreement Attorney

Promoting Stable Marriages and Predictability When Marriages Dissolve – Michigan Prenuptial Attorney

It is paradoxical that preparation for a marital partnership, which is expected to last a lifetime, is often accompanied by less planning than a business partnership, which is generally presumed to be temporary. When people form a partnership in business, they almost always draft a written agreement that defines the contributions of each partner and delineates how the assets of the business will be distributed if the partnership is dissolved.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract between a couple entering into marriage that articulates how certain issues will be handled in the event of a divorce or the death of one of the spouses. Issues usually addressed in prenuptial agreement are alimony, division of marital and identification of separate property. A post-nuptial agreement is like a prenuptial agreement except that it is entered into after the parties have married. While a prenuptial agreement is enforceable in Michigan, provided that its terms are reasonable, at both the time of execution and enforcement, and it is not ambiguous. A Michigan court may also refuse to enforce an agreement that resulted from any of the following factors:

  • Undue influence
  • Non-disclosure of assets
  • Incapacity
  • Fraud
  • Duress
  • Lack of consent or knowledge

At McGuigan Law, PLLC, we understand that a prenuptial agreement provides the ability to prevent much of the bitterness and contentiousness that can make the divorce process difficult. Mr. McGuigan can draft a prenuptial agreement that is based on the thoughtful consideration of both parties so that there are no surprises if your marriage should end in divorce.

Although some prenuptial agreements are found to be unenforceable at the time of divorce, this is usually because the parties tried to draft the prenuptial agreement without the guidance of an experienced Michigan divorce attorney. Our experienced legal team can analyze the terms of your agreement to determine that they are enforceable. For example, some people attempt to include a waiver of child support in a prenuptial agreement. In Michigan child support is for the benefit to the child and cannot be waived by the parents. If the person who would have paid child support agrees to give up valuable assets to obtain this waiver, he or she may be left with an empty promise at the time of divorce. This is the type of critical mistake that Don can help you avoid.

While a growing number of people from all walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds are using prenuptial agreements, the vast majority of people still enter marriage, which is an intense and intimate partnership, without the planning and document preparation that is almost universal when forming a business partnership. Although this paradox may be rooted in the notion that prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements reflect a pessimistic outlook on one’s prospective marriage, these documents really are nothing more than sound estate planning devises.

No one gets married with the expectation that their marriage will end in divorce or that their spouse will pass away. But the unfortunate fact is that about half of all new marriages end in divorce. While the divorce rate in Michigan is slightly better than the national average, in 2010, almost 35,000 Michigan marriages ended in divorce.

Contrary to the notion that a prenuptial agreement is “unromantic,” it can actually provide stability to a marriage because, just like a business partnership, it is made more stable by clearly defining the consequences of dissolution. A common example is a prenuptial agreement that imposes a substantial penalty in terms of distribution of marital property or alimony if one of the parties to the marriage commits adultery. Most marriages can benefit from a prenuptial agreement because it encourages couples to confront and resolve property division and alimony issues before they occur, but there are certain situations where a prenuptial agreement is particularly appropriate, including the following:

  • The parties to a marriage are entering into marriage with a substantial disparity in net worth
  • Either spouse is expected to receive a substantial inheritance
  • One of the spouses owns a business or professional practice
  • A party has children from a prior marriage that may create disputes regarding inheritance
  • The parties have a drastic difference in income or earning potential

While many still adhere to the stereotype that a prenuptial agreement is “unromantic” or is akin to putting on a life vest before climbing aboard a cruise ship, prenuptial agreements offer predictability to both parties if the marriage should deteriorate. Though no one plans to get divorced, a prenuptial agreement allows you and your prospective spouse to decide how property division and other financial issues will be handled. This reduces the level of animosity and uncertainty that often accompanies a divorce. Most importantly, you and your spouse to be make decide how you will part ways instead of a family court judge.

Despite the benefits of a prenuptial agreement, there are potential pitfalls that can undermine your agreement if you do not work with an experienced Michigan divorce attorney like Don McGuigan. He can provide the following critical services:

  • Determine if the terms are so unfair that the court may not enforce your agreement
  • Ensure that proper property disclosures are made so that the agreement is enforceable
  • Artfully draft the agreement so that it unambiguously represents your intent
  • Advise you about any potentially unenforceable terms in your agreement
  • Anticipate and preempt future challenges to your prenuptial agreement

While a prenuptial agreement is, in essence, a contract under Michigan law, it is a special kind of contract. This means that a court may choose not to enforce some or all of the prenuptial agreement if the agreement is extremely unfair or the court determines that one party was not represented by an attorney or did not have sufficient time and opportunity to review and analyze the agreement. The bottom line is that while a Michigan prenuptial agreement is enforceable and beneficial, it may be a “less durable” contract than ordinary business contracts.

This special aspect of prenuptial agreements in Michigan is why it is essential to entrust an experienced Michigan divorce attorney like Mr. McGuigan with negotiating the terms and artfully drafting your prenuptial agreement. The risks of entering into a prenuptial agreement without the legal advice and guidance of an experienced Michigan divorce attorney should be obvious. The rights you choose to forgo and assets you relinquish can suddenly be given up for nothing if a court redistributes the marital property or finds the agreement is otherwise unenforceable.

If you are contemplating marriage, we can facilitate a prenuptial agreement so that in the event you divorce or your spouse dies, property is divided and other financial issues are handled according to terms that you have mutually agreed are acceptable. These issues are much easier to resolve when you are on amicable terms than when you are in the emotionally heated context of divorce proceedings. While your agreement may represent a compromise where you both get some of what you want but not everything, this is better than leaving these determination up to the discretion of a family law judge.

A prenuptial agreement will also prevent costly litigation of financial issues in your divorce. This means that your financial resources can be used to rebuild and move on rather than\on attorney’s fees, expert fees, forensic accountants, court costs and other divorce litigation expenses. Mr. McGuigan is committed to assisting you in making this difficult transition the foundation for happier times. For more information, please contact our law firm by phone at 248-356-9100 or e-mail us. We are a full service family law firm and our Southfield office can handle all of your prenuptial and post-nuptial needs. We also have meeting facilities available for the convenience of clients residing in Oakland, Wayne, Washtenaw, Livingston and Macomb counties.

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24750 Lahser Road, Southfield, MI 48033
| Phone: 248-356-9100

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24750 Lahser Road, Southfield, MI 48033 | Phone: 248-356-9100