Getting married is one of life's most important decisions. It means that you're not only making an emotional commitment to someone, but a legal commitment as well. And for most people, divorce is the last thing on their mind at such a special point in life. Unfortunately, divorce is a possibility, and being prepared in case it happens may be a good idea. Although many people see it as a bad omen, having a prenuptial agreement doesn't mean that a couple is more or less likely to get divorced. It just means that they have a document in place outlining certain procedures in case they end up getting divorced.
Enforceable Prenuptial Agreements in Michigan
The content and procedure for prenuptial agreements are governed by state laws. In Michigan, prenuptial agreements - also called "antenuptial" or "premarital" agreements - are generally permitted under state laws. A prenuptial agreement will usually be upheld in court as long as:
- It's fair;
- It was executed voluntarily (without mistake, fraud, or duress); and
- It was entered into in good faith.
A prenuptial agreement is generally considered fair if there was full disclosure of each party's assets, debts, and income, and the property division isn't "unconscionable." It's important to note that a court may choose not to enforce a prenuptial agreement if the facts and circumstances have changed so much since executing the agreement that it makes the agreement unreasonable and unfair. Finally, it's advisable that each party have independent counsel, or at least include this suggestion in the prenuptial agreement.
Michigan Prenuptial Agreements at a Glance
It's important to read the actual language of a law when researching the answer to a legal question. However, it can also be helpful to read a summary of the law in plain English. The following chart provides a brief overview of the laws relating to prenuptial agreements in Michigan, as well as links to relevant statutes.
Michigan Compiled Laws
|Basic Requirements for Prenuptial Agreements
In order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid it must be in writing and signed by each party.
A prenuptial agreement becomes effective once the marriage takes place.
|What Can Be Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?
In Michigan, what can (and cannot) be included in a prenuptial agreement is not addressed in the state code but is based on case law (higher court decisions) instead. Here's a sample of what can be included in a prenuptial agreement:
- How any debts before marriage will be paid;
- How gifts and/or inheritances received during the marriage will be handled;
- How each spouse's income will be classified; and/or
- Each spouse's ability and responsibility in handling assets and property.
Michigan Compiled Laws
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Michigan Prenuptial Agreements: Related Resources
For additional information and resources related to this topic, please click on the links below.
Have Questions About Michigan Prenuptial Agreements? Contact a Lawyer
Prenuptial agreements can be an important tool to protect your property and avoid - or at least reduce - problems in the future. However, in order to be valid, it's important that a prenuptial agreement complies with the law. If you're interested in drafting a prenuptial agreement in Michigan, or you have questions before signing one, it's a good idea to speak with a skilled family law attorney near you today.