Understanding Michigan Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Our office often encounters prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. In keeping with DAWN’s commitment of more than 20 years of providing the highest quality representation, we will aggressively challenge unfair premarital agreements to ensure our clients a fair and equitable result under Michigan law. We also defend valid premarital agreements whose terms are fair and equitable.  We also represent women’s interests in negotiating prenuptial and postnuptial contracts.

Woman signing marriage contractA prenuptial agreement is a contract made in contemplation of marriage intended to limit one party’s ability to receive premarital property that belongs to the other and/or to limit or prevent inheritance of a party’s estate in the event of death or divorce. The court generally enforces such contracts if the parties marry and a divorce later occurs. A postnuptial agreement, which is made after the marriage occurs, will generally contain the terms of a settlement in the event of a divorce.

Michigan law requires that a prenuptial agreement be signed, and if so, the contract “shall remain in full force after marriage takes place.” A family law attorney from DAWN can provide an accurate assessment of the validity of your marital agreement.

Under Michigan law, the following factors are considered in determining whether to enforce a prenuptial agreement:

1.) Was the agreement obtained through fraud, duress, mistake, or misrepresentation or nondisclosure of a material fact?

2.) Was the agreement unconscionable at the time it was executed?

3.) Have the facts and circumstances changed to such an extent since the agreement was signed that enforcement of it as written would be unfair and unreasonable?

These agreements must be entered into freely and voluntarily by each party with each understanding their rights and any waiver of rights contained in the agreement.  Such agreements also impose a special duty of disclosure not required in ordinary contracts to make sure that each party is fully informed as to the relevant and material facts prior to signing the agreement.

Postnuptial agreements are different in that they arise after the marriage has occurred and are intended to govern the division of property and the rights and obligations of the parties in the event of divorce.  To be enforceable, the parties are separated and intending to divorce.  These documents are also referred to as separation agreements.

If you have questions about a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, DAWN can assist you.  DAWN’s family law and divorce attorneys are here to help you with prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.