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Importance of a Prenuptial Agreement

A common misunderstanding of prenuptial agreements is that they are strictly for wealthy couples who wish to protect their assets. Prenuptial agreements are for couples of all kinds, as they protect more than just money. A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract that a couple signs deciding what will happen if the marriage ends in separation, divorce, or death. It can help avoid or reduce legal disputes by pre-determining the division of a couple’s assets which can include property, businesses, automobiles, or retirement accounts.

Who should obtain a Prenuptial Agreement?

It truly is the personal choice of the couple themselves to obtain a prenup, and no one else’s choice. There are several situations a couple could be in where a prenuptial agreement may be beneficial:

  • One or both bringing in a great amount of debt
  • One or both bringing property
  • One spouse is much wealthier or poorer
  • One or both are remarrying or have children

These are general examples, and there could be different reasons a couple chooses to obtain a prenuptial agreement.

What all can a Prenuptial Agreement protect?

Prenuptial agreements can protect and cover a variety of issues, which is why they’re not strictly for wealthy couples. Prenups can include some or all of these issues:

  • Spouses’ rights and obligations regarding the other’s property
  • Management and control of either or both properties
  • The distribution of the spouses’ property upon end of marriage
  • Either of their right to collect alimony. Though the terms of a prenup cannot result in one spouse having less than sufficient support
  • Creation of wills, trusts, or other arrangement to carry out this agreement
  • Upon death, provisions that their property will pass to a specific person without probate
  • Agreement to arbitrate disputes
  • Other matters affecting either property that does not violate Wisconsin’s criminal law or public policy

Validity of Prenuptial Agreements

Wisconsin has enacted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act which states clear rules to properly execute a valid agreement. For a prenuptial agreement to be valid, it has to be in writing and signed by both parties, signed “in contemplation of marriage,” and the agreement does not have to be supported by consideration. Consideration is something that value that each spouse exchanges to show support of this contract.

Even with all of the above, prenuptial agreements can still become unenforceable in certain situations such as:

  • One spouse didn’t sign voluntarily, but only because of manipulation or deceit
  • The agreement is extremely unfair to one spouse over the other
  • Either or both parties failed to provide full and fair disclosure about their assets and liabilities

It’s important to acquire an experienced attorney when obtaining a prenuptial agreement because there are many legal considerations within the contract. From procedural and substantive issues when creating the agreement to federal laws, an attorney will be knowledgeable in all of these and will be able to assist you in writing a valid prenuptial agreement. At Hart Law Office, our attorneys have over 46 years of experience to assist you with contracts. Contact us for a free consultation.

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