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Understanding prenuptial agreements

Many people in Detroit may be under the impression that the need for drafting a prenuptial agreement is only for the rich. Though it is true that wealthy couples often have a prenuptial, the option of having a prenuptial is available to any couple interested in it. Before deciding to draft a prenuptial agreement, it is important to have a basic understanding of what it is and what it entails.

A prenuptial agreement is also referred to as a premarital agreement. As the prefix implies, a prenuptial agreement is entered into before marriage. In essence, a prenuptial is a set of agreed-upon terms regarding property rights should the marriage end in divorce. People interested in prenuptial agreements are typically looking for ways to protects their assets, protect themselves from taking on the debts of their partner, have clarity regarding the rights and responsibility of each party during married life, have a defined terms on what will happen to their property and asset upon death and finally to avoid a lengthy and expensive divorce should the marriage not work out.

In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, Michigan's family law courts will determine how the property will be divided. Property division in the absence of a prenuptial will depend on the length of the marriage, determination of what is and is not joint marital property and other factors. To some having a prenuptial agreement may be attractive to avoid a court making the decision.

However, when a prenuptial agreement is in place, courts look at the terms of the prenuptial very closely to ensure that the terms of the agreement are fair and equitable. If the court determines that the terms of the prenuptial are not fair or one party was coerced into signing the agreement, then the court can invalidate the prenuptial agreement. Thus, when considering a prenuptial agreement, it is important for both sides to have competent legal representation by their side to ensure that a fair agreement is being entered into.

Source: FindLaw, "Can Prenuptial Agreements Help You?" accessed Jan. 19, 2015

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