A prenuptial agreement is an enforceable contract entered into by two parties in contemplation of marriage
Not a very romantic topic, huh? Especially if your wedding day is soon approaching. However, the topic of whether you should enter into a prenuptial agreement may be one worthy of discussion before saying “I do.” A prenuptial agreement (sometimes referred to as an antenuptial agreement) is an enforceable contract entered into by two parties in contemplation of marriage that is signed before the marriage occurs. A prenuptial agreement often regulates obligations each party may have to the other during the course of the marriage, and it can prescribe legally enforceable rights and/or obligations either party may have in the event the marriage ends by death or divorce. For instance, in Alabama, there are certain default “rules” for how an estate is divided when a spouse dies without a will. Likewise, in the case of a divorce, the default is that if an asset is used for the common benefit of the marriage, it is subject to division in a divorce proceeding. A prenuptial agreement may be designed in such a way so as to avoid the occurrence of these default “rules.”
What a prenuptial agreement can be designed to do
Prenuptial agreements are often designed to protect and shield a spouse’s assets, separate estate, or income from the other spouse in the event the marriage ends by death or divorce. There are several situations in which prenuptial agreements are common. One of the most common situations is when there is a vast discrepancy in the net worth of each party contemplating marriage. This is especially true where there may be a vast age discrepancy between the parties, where there is a family business, family trust, or “family money” that one party wants to shield from the other, or where one party may have children from a previous relationship whose interests he or she wants to protect.
Will my prenuptial agreement be enforced by the court?
A prenuptial agreement will be enforced if it can be proven that either the consideration was adequate and that the entire transaction was fair, just and reasonable, or it can be proven that the agreement was freely and voluntarily entered into, with each spouse having independent advice and full knowledge of their interest in the other party’s estate and its approximate value. A prenuptial agreement is enforceable and valid in Alabama if properly prepared.
Seek competent and independent legal advice before signing a prenuptial agreement
Whether it is in your best interest to enter into a prenuptial agreement will depend on a host of factors, and it is wise to contemplate not only your current situation but also to speculate about what could happen in the future under certain scenarios should your marriage terminate. It is important for you to seek competent and independent legal advice before signing a prenuptial agreement as there could be significant and life-altering ramifications. Although we are sure your marriage will stand the test of time, do not permit your heart to override your mind. Make sound decisions before entering into wedded marital bliss.
If you would like to schedule an appointment to obtain advice as to whether or not a prenuptial agreement may be in your best interest, please contact one of our attorneys at Boyd, Fernambucq & Dunn, P.C. here, and we would be happy to assist you in making the best decision… for you.