What You Should (And Shouldn’t) Address in Your Michigan Prenuptial Agreement (Pt 1)

Man signing prenuptial agreement
When putting together a prenup, there’s a right way and wrong way to go about it.

Most family law attorneys could spent hours explaining why prenuptial contracts are a good idea, and why everyone getting married should have one (obviously!). However, there are lots of folks who still don’t know much about them, or why they’re important. And in some cases, the only thing they know about prenups are the crazy things they hear in the news about celebrities prenups, which as you can imagine as a world apart from what the average person deals with. So we’d like to take a moment to break down exactly what you should (and shouldn’t) include in your prenup and why. You’re welcome.

First and foremost, hire an experienced attorney and deal with assets and debts

The primary purpose of a prenup is to help a soon-to-be married couple decide how their assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce or death. The idea is to make those decisions before things get emotionally volatile (which is exactly what happens when you file for divorce – we’ve seen it countless times here in Oakland County). That way there’s less fighting in general, and everyone can get on with the business of parting ways as amicably as possible. Remember though, that these prenuptial agreements can be written to cover division in divorce cases as well as the death of a spouse.

Figure out who gets what and how much

So what exactly does that mean? It means you need to figure out who gets what and how much. You also need to ensure that the division is as fair and equitable as possible, or there’s a chance the Oakland County Family Court won’t enforce it. For example, here are some things you’ll need to address:

  • Who gets to keep the house, the cars, and any other property you may own?
  • Does either of you own assets that were yours before the marriage, and do you want them to be solely yours again afterwards if it doesn’t work out?
  • What about retirement accounts, mutual funds and savings? Decide who gets what.
  • Any specific items of value you own, like art or family heirlooms, should also be assigned.
  • And figure out who would have to pay off which debts (this is often affected by who accrued the debts, like student loans and credit card debts)

Don’t include ridiculous provisions in your prenup

While figuring out who pays what debts and who gets to keep the vacation cottage are very important issues, there are several things you shouldn’t include. These are probably the subjects you’ve heard about when celebrities get divorced, and get into legal battles over during their divorces, like weight gain, infidelity, and childbirth.

Provisions like, “You have to pay me $10,000 for every pound you gain over a certain weight” or “You have to give up any claim to the children if there’s evidence of an affair” won’t hold water in an Oakland County family court. The truth is, having an antenuptial agreement in Michigan is no guarantee that the court will uphold it. They can be set aside for many reasons, depending on the particulars of the case, changes in circumstances, fairness, and many other reasons. So don’t undermine your own prenup by filling it with nonsense that can’t be enforced by the court.

Which is why a good lawyer is so important

Prenups are a delicate subject that need to handled with skill, finesse and significant knowledge of a very experienced Michigan family law attorney. So if you’re planning to tie the knot, and you want to create a lasting prenup that prepares you for the worst (but hopes for the best) we can help you with that. The experienced family law attorneys at The Kronzek Firm will work to honor your relationship, while helping you to plan for all eventualities. You can reach us 24/7 at (248) 479-6200. And join us next time for a few more pointers on how to prepare a stronger, better prenup here in Oakland County, MI.