Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Lawyers In Melrose Assisting Clients in Drafting and Negotiating Marital Agreements
In today’s modern world, many soon-to-be spouses find themselves able to bring a vast array of financial resources into their marriage. However, also due to the ever-changing economy, most individuals wish to protect their hard-earned assets in the event that a divorce should occur.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are much more commonplace in marriages of today than they were in the past. These agreements are looked upon more favorably now due to the fact that they outline terms and expectations in regard to the financial aspects of the marriage ahead of time.
Most individuals are familiar with the concept of a prenuptial agreement and that it is drafted and signed before the marriage takes place. The actual agreement does not become effective until the marriage takes place. However, many individuals are not aware that a couple may enter into a postnuptial agreement after they are already married to protect financial interests. In most cases, postnuptial agreements are entered into by couples who are experiencing marital troubles or may be considering divorce. Signing a postnuptial agreement may help to alleviate some of the stress that an impending separation may bring.
When Does a Prenuptial Agreement Become Enforceable?
A prenuptial agreement is considered to be a legal contract. This contract is signed by a couple prior to the two individuals getting married. The terms and conditions that are outlined in the agreement become legally binding at the time of the marriage and can be executed in the event the marriage ends in divorce.
The courts in Massachusetts will enforce prenuptial agreements if they are valid when they were executed and conscionable at the time of the divorce. Nevertheless, there are many instances when the court may take a “second look” at a prenuptial agreement during a divorce hearing. This is done to ensure that the agreement has the same durability that the parties intended at the time it was drafted and executed. A prenuptial agreement will not be enforced if one of the parties involved in the divorce action would be left without sufficient resources to support themselves due to circumstances that occurred while the parties were married to one another.
What Cannot be Included in a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement?
Although a variety of issues can be addressed in both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, there are certain topics that are prohibited from being included in an agreement. They include any provisions that relate to child custody or care of a couple’s children in the event of a divorce. In addition, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement cannot include any decisions related to child support, custody arrangements, or employment. These types of family issues are decided by a family court judge based on what is in the best interests of the children.
Nevertheless, issues that relate to spousal support or potential division of property are permitted and even encouraged when drafting either a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Are Postnuptial Agreements Enforceable in Massachusetts?
The majority of postnuptial agreements are drafted in order to help couples who are potentially headed for divorce maintain control of financial assets. Postnuptial agreements are considered legal and enforceable if certain criteria are met when determining the validity of such agreements. The criteria that must be met are:
- Each party must have had the opportunity to retain independent legal counsel to review the agreement.
- There must be no evidence that there was any type of coercion or fraud committed in order for the spouse to consent to the agreement.
- All assets must have been fully disclosed prior to the execution of the agreement.
- Both spouses must have knowingly waived their right to property division and support in the event of a divorce.
- The terms of the agreement must have been fair and reasonable at the time that the postnuptial agreement was executed and remain fair and reasonable at the time of divorce when it has become necessary to enforce the agreement.
What are the Benefits of Having a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement?
When a couple decides to get married, divorce is probably the last thing on their mind. However, having a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place is extremely beneficial when it comes to the divorce process.
Both of these types of agreements create a predetermined plan for how various problems and other issues should be dealt with ahead of time. Some of the more common and often contentious issues involve alimony and property division, all of which can be addressed beforehand.
By making decisions about what constitutes marital property and how debt should be divided, a great deal of time and money can be saved by both parties, and they can quickly resume their lives after divorce.
If you need more information about prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, you should consult with an experienced attorney who can answer your questions and explain your rights and legal options. It is very important that when a prenup or postnuptial agreement is drafted, the clauses and stipulations contained in the document meet the requirements set forth by Massachusetts state law.
The attorneys of the Martino Law Group, LLC of Melrose, MA, have a vast amount of skill and knowledge in all areas of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Remember, when you have an agreement drafted, the other party must be given an ample amount of time to review the document as well as have their personal legal representative review it to ensure that it meets legal qualifications.