Prenups Aren't Just For Jessica Simpson
Celebrities are not the only people asking for prenuptial agreements. In Michigan, prenups are becoming more common with couples who are marrying later in life, or who are marrying for the second or third time.
Will Jessica Simpson insist on a prenuptial agreement as she plans on marrying Eric Johnson? That seems to be the hot topic surrounding her life these days. Eva Longoria and Tony Parker had a prenup. George and Ann Lopez did not. Frank McCourt and his wife Jamie, owners of the Dodgers, apparently had two prenups and they each said different things.
Why all the fuss about prenuptial agreements? What are they and why would we even consider one unless we were a celebrity?
Prenuptial agreements are honored in Michigan, and are made between couples who are planning on getting married. Those agreements will state what happens with their money and property if they ever divorce or die. It can dictate how they will purchase things and how they will share debt. It can also indicate whether or not spousal support or alimony will be awarded if they divorce.
I have found as a Northville-based family law attorney, that prenuptial agreements are very common when two people are bringing significant assets of their own into the marriage, or even significant debt. They are also common when people are marrying later in life and they have grown children they want to provide for if they were to pass away. They are common with people who are marrying for the second or third time, or for people who have businesses that they have started or have inherited through the family.
And they are far more common than they used to be, even in Michigan.
For couples that are anticipating marriage, it's very important to at least consider whether or not to have a prenuptial agreement in place prior to marriage. This is particularly important if each person has their own property, investments, retirement and savings.
If a couple decides on a prenuptial agreement, they must fully disclose to each other all of their property and debt and the value of each, and must agree to consult with an attorney prior to signing it. If these requirements are met, the prenuptial agreement is upheld in the future. If one person does not fully disclose all of their assets or debts and this is discovered during a divorce, the potential penalty imposed by the court is setting aside the prenuptial agreement completely and proceeding as if it never even existed.
Prenuptial agreements are usually signed prior to the wedding. They are treated like a contract, and are reviewed by the court if the couple ever files for divorce. Unless something unusual is discovered during the course of divorce about the prenup, like fraud or a significant misktake, the court is bound by the agreement of the couple. This means that the normal equal sharing of marital property is set aside, and the prenup governs how property and debt is distributed – and even determines if a person receives spousal support, or alimony.
And yes, despite what you may believe, in Michigan, prenups are drafted for people just like you and me, even if we aren't as newsworthy as Jessica Simpson.
The information provided in this column is not legal advice. The information provided on this public website is provided solely for the general interest of the visitors to this website. The nformation contained in the column applies to general principles of law and may not reflect current legal developments or statutory changes in the various jurisdictions and therefore should not be relied upon or interpreted as legal advice. Reading the information contained in this column does not mean that you have established an attorney-client relationship with attorney Wendy Alton or the law firm of Fausone Bohn. Readers of this column should not act upon any information contained in the website without first seeking the advice of legal counsel.