Understanding Prenuptial Agreements

You put much thought and insight into choosing a spouse. Unfortunately, statistics show that nearly half of all marriages eventually end in divorce. As much thought as you put into choosing a spouse, you should also put into estate planning and protecting your assets before and after marriage. A prenuptial agreement is a useful tool to protect and separate each spouse's assets in the event that a marriage should end in divorce or dissolution.

What Is A Prenuptial Agreement?

According to Ohio law, a prenuptial agreement is defined as "a contract entered into between a man and a woman in contemplation, and in consideration, of their future marriage whereby the property rights and economic interests of either the prospective wife or husbands, or both, are determined and set of forth in such instrument."

Prenuptial agreements may contain provisions dealing with some or all of a spouse's assets and property. These agreements commonly include provisions concerning:

  • Status of property and payments for sustenance upon the death of one of the spouses
  • Distribution of property and the sustenance or maintenance of one or other of the spouses upon a separation or divorce
  • Any combination of the previous concerns

Prenuptial agreements are beneficial because they can provide a quick resolution to the division of property if a marriage ends in divorce or dissolution. Furthermore, prenuptial agreements can help couples deal with important financial issues before they enter into marriage.

Enforceability Of Prenuptial Agreements In Ohio

Ohio law recognizes prenuptial agreement as being conducive to marital tranquility and promoting public policy. For a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable in Ohio, there must be a full disclosure of the couple's assets, and there must be no showing of fraud, duress or undue influence in the procurement of the agreement.

Importantly, while prenuptial agreements are not per se against public policy, courts still have the power to invalidate any prenuptial agreement. Generally, a prenuptial agreement will be upheld if it meets the following conditions:

  • Entered into freely without fraud, duress, coercion or overreaching
  • Full disclosure, or full knowledge, and understanding, of the nature, value and extent of the prospective spouse's property
  • The terms do not promote or encourage divorce or profiteering by divorce

Whether or not a court will uphold a prenuptial agreement is a fact-sensitive inquiry that will depend on the circumstances of each case. To avoid the uncertainty of whether a prenuptial agreement will be upheld, an experienced prenuptial agreement attorney can draft an agreement subject to even the most exacting court review.

Contact An Experienced Prenuptial Agreement Attorney

If you have any questions about entering into a prenuptial agreement, Laubacher & Co.'s experienced prenuptial agreement attorneys can answer all your questions. Our attorneys have extensive practice drafting prenuptial agreements to fit every couple's needs and interests. Whether a couple has a small estate or a multimillion-dollar estate, a prenuptial agreement can benefit couples of all types of estates with all types of property.

One must understand that even the most carefully drafted agreements are subject to court review. Our attorneys can help you craft a prenuptial agreement to anticipate this possibility should your marriage end in divorce and to make it that much more difficult for an opposing party to have the prenuptial agreement overturned by the court later. We make our best efforts to head off problems that may develop later by anticipating and dealing with the issues upfront.

Contact us today for a free consultation by calling 440-462-1882 or emailing us, or visit one of our offices in Cleveland or Rocky River.