Prenuptial Agreements & Marital Separation Agreements

Protecting Your Assets and Financial Interests

As people have begun marrying later in life—well after they have begun their careers and started businesses—the popularity of prenuptial agreements has increased. While it isn’t the most romantic legal document out there, prenuptial agreements (sometimes referred to as “prenups”) are important tools for couples to protect their various interests in the event of a divorce. 

In addition to financial assets, spouses might choose to enter into these agreements to protect themselves from the other’s debts, ensure children from a previous marriage are taken care of, or to delineate items of sentimental value as separate (and not community) property. 

Legally Enforceable Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements come into effect as soon as couples tie the knot. These contracts must be signed by both parties in the presence of a notary or attorney. Parties should retain separate legal counsel before signing a prenuptial agreement; an attorney who represents both sides of a contract is a clear conflict of interest. 

There are a few reasons why a prenuptial agreement might not be legally enforceable. It could be so one-sided (unconscionable) that no reasonable person would agree to its terms. Or, one spouse could have been pressured into signing or was convinced to sign under false pretenses. Otherwise, an effective (and legally enforceable) prenuptial agreement will help each side protect valuable assets and efficiently divide community property in the event of a divorce or separation.

Marital Settlement Agreements

Some couples may choose to effect a marital settlement agreement if one spouse files for divorce. These agreements are blueprints for the eventual divorce decree. 

These agreements are generally legally binding and should cover all areas of post-divorce life, including spousal maintenance, child support, insurance coverage, property division, and other areas. If you and your spouse can come to a marital settlement agreement, your dissolution of marriage case will be over rather quickly. Even if you and your spouse generally agree on terms, you should still have a knowledgeable family law attorney help you draft this document. 

We Are Ready to Help

If you or your spouse are interested in coming to a mutual agreement on post-divorce life, contact Monahan Law Firm to begin working on your case.