Labre Law Office | Family Law & Criminal Defense Lawyer | Edwardsburg, MI

Prenuptial Agreements

Our Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Team Will Guide and Represent You in Drafting a Prenuptial Agreement to Protect Assets for You and Your Fiancé Before You Enter a Marriage Together in Michigan or Indiana.

Why You Should Work with a Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Before You Marry in Michigan

A prenuptial agreement is an important legal tool that allows marrying couples to determine how their assets would be allocated in the case of the dissolution of the marriage. Prenuptial agreements are also known as prenups — and are less commonly known as antenuptial agreements. While some people have historically perceived prenups as unromantic or suggestive of a lack of trust, a prenup is a proactive tool for financial planning and protection. It encourages open communication about finances, which can strengthen your relationship. It doesn’t mean you expect the marriage to end; it’s a safeguard for the unexpected. A prenuptial agreement attorney can guide you through this proactive process to align your assets with your goals.

A prenuptial agreement gives the spouses more control over their assets while potentially saving both spouses a lot of heartache and expenses. Without a prenup, state laws will dictate how assets are divided in the event of a divorce. This division might not align with your wishes, and it could lead to lengthy and costly legal battles. Without clear directives in a prenup, disputes over debt responsibility can also arise.

If you love your fiancé, you don’t want to hurt them or be hurt by decisions outside of your control that would exacerbate an unfortunate situation. Don’t set yourselves up for these latent problems if conflicts eventually lead to the dissolution of your marriage. A prenup is a tool to prevent this. A postnuptial agreement is a similar tool for addressing these concerns if you are already married.

Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement:

  1. Clear Expectations: A prenup sets clear expectations about how assets and liabilities would be divided in the event of a divorce or death. It reduces uncertainty and can prevent potential conflict later on.
  2. Protection of Premarital Assets: If one or both parties have significant assets before marriage, a prenup can ensure these remain separate property — towards ensuring their protection in case of divorce.
  3. Inheritance Rights: A prenuptial agreement can specify what happens to inheritance rights, ensuring that certain assets will pass to children from previous relationships or other designated heirs.
  4. Debt Distribution: A prenup can protect each party from being responsible for the other’s debts.
  5. Business Protection: If one or both parties own a business, a prenup can clarify and protect those interests.

While the idea of a prenuptial agreement might initially seem uncomfortable, working with an experienced attorney can help you navigate this process smoothly. It’s an opportunity to discuss your financial goals and expectations, which can ultimately strengthen your relationship and provide peace of mind as you enter this exciting new chapter of your lives. Call LaBre Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

Circumstances to Plan for With a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement in Michigan can be a vital planning tool for couples about to marry. A couple should plan for the following circumstances:

  1. Protection of Separate Property: If one or both parties have significant assets before marriage, such as real estate, investments, or a business, a prenuptial agreement can ensure these remain separate property in the event of divorce.
  2. Division of Marital Property: The agreement can specify how marital assets (acquired during the marriage) will be divided in the case of a divorce, providing certainty and reducing potential conflicts.
  3. Debt Protection: If one party has significant debt, a prenuptial agreement can protect the other party from being liable for that debt if they divorce.
  4. Spousal Support: A prenup can establish in advance whether one spouse would pay alimony to the other in the case of a divorce — and if so, how much they would pay and for how long.
  5. Inheritance and Estate Planning: The agreement can outline what happens to assets upon the death of one spouse, which can be especially important in blended families to ensure children from previous relationships inherit assets as intended.
  6. Business Ownership: If one or both parties own a business, a prenuptial agreement can protect those interests, preventing the business from being divided or disrupted in the event of a divorce.

Note that prenuptial agreements in Michigan must be fair, equitable, and reasonable under the circumstances. They must be entered voluntarily, with both parties fully informed of the other’s financial circumstances. Consulting with an experienced prenuptial attorney can help ensure that a prenuptial agreement meets these standards and effectively protects your interests.

Assets to Include in a Prenuptial Agreement

Consider the following common categories of assets when preparing your prenuptial agreement:

  1. Real Estate: Includes any property owned by either party, including primary residences, vacation homes, rental properties, or undeveloped land.
  2. Personal Property: Includes items like vehicles, furniture, jewelry, art, and other personal belongings.
  3. Financial Assets:  Includes bank accounts, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other financial instruments.
  4. Business Interests: If either party owns a business, they might want to include provisions about how they will value and divide the business in the event of divorce.
  5. Inheritances: While inheritances are usually considered separate property, a prenuptial agreement can still address them to avoid potential confusion or disputes.
  6. Debts: Debts are also a critical component of a prenuptial agreement. The prenup agreement can specify which debts are separate property and which are marital property, protecting each party from being held responsible for the other’s debts in case of divorce.
  7. Future Earnings: The agreement can also address how future earnings during the marriage will be treated.

What Cannot Be Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?

While prenuptial agreements in Michigan can cover a wide range of financial matters, certain types of assets or decisions cannot be included in a prenup:

  1. Child Custody and Child Support: Decisions regarding child custody and child support cannot be predetermined in a prenuptial agreement. The court determines these arrangements based on the interests of the child at the time of divorce.
  2. Non-Financial Duties: Provisions dictating personal responsibilities or behaviors, such as household chores, frequency of visits with in-laws, or how to raise children, are not enforceable in a prenuptial agreement.
  3. Illegal Provisions: Any provisions encouraging illegal activity will not be upheld.
  4. Waiving Right to Alimony (Spousal Support): While a prenup can address alimony, it cannot wholly waive a spouse’s right to seek alimony if doing so would leave them in a state of financial hardship.

Using a Prenup to Protect Your Children from a Previous Relationship

A prenuptial agreement can protect the interests of children from a previous relationship. When you remarry, your assets become marital property, which means they are subject to division between you and your new spouse in case of divorce or death. Without a prenuptial agreement, your children from a previous relationship could potentially lose their inheritance rights to these assets.

A prenuptial agreement can help to protect your children from a previous marriage or relationship in a few ways:

  1. Specify Separate Property: A prenuptial agreement can specify which assets are considered separate property, which typically includes assets acquired before the marriage or those received as gifts or inheritance during the marriage. By designating certain assets as separate property, you can ensure they will not be divided in the event of divorce, allowing them to be passed on to your children.
  2. Inheritance Rights: The agreement can specify that certain assets will pass to your children upon your death rather than to your spouse, which can be critical if you want to ensure your children inherit specific items of sentimental or monetary value.
  3. Life Insurance Policies: You might include provisions in the prenuptial agreement that require you and/or your spouse to maintain life insurance policies naming your children as beneficiaries.

Without a prenuptial agreement, your new spouse might have a legal claim to a significant portion of your assets if you divorce or pass away, potentially leaving your children without the financial support or inheritance you intended. A prenuptial agreement proactively mitigates this threat and protects your children’s interests when entering a new marriage.

Protecting Business Interests with a Prenup

A prenuptial agreement can be an essential tool if you seek to protect your business rights and assets in the event of a divorce. There are several considerations to include in a prenuptial agreement to protect your business interests:

  1. Defining the Business as Separate Property: The prenuptial agreement can establish that the business is separate property, not marital property, meaning it was either acquired before the marriage or built using separate assets, and therefore shouldn’t be divided in a divorce.
  2. Limiting Spouse’s Interest in the Business: The language in the prenuptial agreement can limit the other spouse’s ability to acquire an ownership interest in the business during the marriage.
  3. Determining Value: The agreement can include a method for valuing the business in case of divorce, which can prevent costly and contentious disputes later on.
  4. Protecting Against Debt Liability: A prenuptial agreement can ensure that the other spouse is not responsible for business debts.
  5. Setting Terms for Buyout: If the other spouse does acquire an interest in the business, the prenuptial agreement can set terms for a buyout in case of divorce, providing a clear path for the business owner to retain control of the business.

A prenuptial agreement can protect your business if you’re a business owner considering marriage. Your prenuptial agreement attorney can tailor your prenuptial agreement to fit your specific situation and needs.

What To Do If You Are Already Married But You Should Have Made a Prenup

If you are already married and realize that a prenuptial agreement would have been beneficial, you and your spouse can opt for a postnuptial agreement. Like a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement outlines how assets, debts, and other financial matters will be handled during a divorce.

You can use a postnuptial agreement to anticipate and manage a variety of scenarios involving the future of your assets:

  1. Emerging Financial Issues: A postnuptial agreement can address new financial circumstances that arise during the marriage, such as a sudden inheritance, the start of a new business, or changes in income.
  2. Protection of Assets: Like a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement can protect each spouse’s separate property and ensure that it remains separate in divorce.
  3. Debt Liability: The agreement can also outline who is responsible for any debts incurred during the marriage, protecting one spouse from being held responsible for the other’s debts.
  4. Changes in Financial Dynamics: If there are significant changes in the financial dynamics of the marriage, such as one spouse deciding to stay home to raise children, a postnuptial agreement can provide a plan for handling these changes.
  5. Reducing Conflict: By establishing clear expectations about financial matters, a postnuptial agreement can help reduce potential conflicts in case of divorce.

A postnuptial agreement can provide the same benefits as a prenuptial agreement for couples who either didn’t put one in place before marriage or would like to address changes or concerns not included in their existing prenuptial agreement. It’s another proactive tool that can help protect your interests and reduce potential conflicts.

Shielding Yourself or Your Spouse with a Prenup

Sometimes, one spouse’s unexpected expenses or financial risks associated with their hobbies, habits, businesses, or projects can threaten their spouse’s assets or interests. As a prenuptial agreement allows couples to define separate property and marital property, it can also specify that any debts or liabilities incurred by one spouse due to their personal activities will remain their sole responsibility.

What To Do If You Need to Modify, Revoke, or Contest a Prenuptial Agreement

Modifying, revoking, or contesting a prenuptial agreement in Michigan involves specific legal steps and requirements.

Modifying a Prenuptial Agreement

To modify a prenuptial agreement in Michigan, both spouses must agree to the changes. The modifications should be clearly documented in a written amendment that both parties sign. This amendment should be notarized to ensure its validity.

Revoking a Prenuptial Agreement

To revoke a prenuptial agreement, both parties must consent to its termination. The revocation should be in writing, signed by both parties and notarized. It’s important to note that a prenuptial agreement cannot be unilaterally revoked by one party. Consult with your attorney if you wish to pursue revocation of a prenuptial agreement.

Contesting a Prenuptial Agreement

Contesting a prenuptial agreement is more complex and typically requires legal representation. There are several grounds on which a prenuptial agreement can be contested in Michigan, including:

  1. Involuntary Agreement: If one party can prove they were coerced or pressured into signing the agreement, it may be invalidated.
  2. Fraud or Misrepresentation: If one party didn’t fully disclose their assets and liabilities — or lied about them — the agreement could be contested.
  3. Unconscionability: The agreement might be invalidated if it is highly unfair to one party to the point where it is unconscionable.
  4. Improper Execution: If the agreement wasn’t properly signed or notarized, it could be contested.

Each situation is unique, and the process can be complex. At LaBre Law Office, we can analyze your situation and guide you throughout the processes for a prenuptial agreement.

Contact LaBre Law Office to Discuss Prenuptial Agreements and Plan a Strategy for Protecting Yourself, Your Fiancé, and Your Assets Before You Marry in Michigan

A prenuptial agreement (antenuptial agreement) is a caring and responsible way to demonstrate love for your fiancé before you marry. In the past, prenups had a negative perception, but many people have since come to recognize that preparing a prenuptial agreement can provide both spouses with a deeper shared understanding of their commitment to one another.

At LaBre Law Office, our prenuptial lawyers are prepared to guide you and your spouse in pursuit of your goals. Note that each spouse will need their own prenuptial agreement lawyer. We serve clients throughout the “Michiana” area, as we are licensed on both sides of the Michigan-Indiana border.

Contact LaBre Law Office today to schedule a consultation. We will discuss your goals and begin to outline plans for your prenuptial agreement.

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