A prenuptial agreement is a contract between parties entered into prior to a marriage. A prenuptial agreement helps a couple define which assets will be kept separate from the marriage and remain the property of only one spouse in the event of a divorce, and those which will become joint assets of the marriage and subject to division. These agreements can also be used in determining allocation of debt and potential spousal support orders.
A prenuptial agreement is a great tool for determining how assets will be divided in a divorce, but they have limitations. One very important limitation is that they cannot be used to determine issues of custody or support for minor children. This is in an issue the parties can agree to at the time of divorce in a separation agreement, but they are not enforceable when contained in a prenuptial agreement. Another very important limitation on prenuptial agreements drafted in Massachusetts is that they must be fair and reasonable at the time the agreement was entered into as well as at the time of divorce. In order to meet this standard there must be a full disclosure of assets and income at the time the agreement was signed, it should be signed as far in advance of the wedding date as possible, and both parties should have a full opportunity to review the agreement with counsel before signing. The fair and reasonable test at the time of divorce is much less stringent as long as the agreement was fair and reasonable at the time it was signed.
These agreements are most often used when one party has significantly more assets than their future spouse, has children from a previous marriage, or stands to inherit significant assets in the future. If you find yourself in any of these positions you may want to consult an attorney to see if a prenuptial agreement is right for you.
Attorney Mansur has drafted prenuptial agreements for couples of all income levels and has an acute understanding of how to handle the sensitive matter of negotiating these agreements.