Is my Prenup Enforceable?
Getting ready to walk down the aisle with the one you love usually involves making plans about sharing your new life and home together. For some, these preparations may also include making sure both partners, and their assets and other loved ones, are protected through a prenuptial agreement. When prospective spouses take the time to put together this type of contract, it may be because they have significant funds or dependents they need to provide for outside of the relationship. Given the agreement’s importance, the last thing you want is to find out that a court cannot enforce some or all of its provisions. It’s better to know sooner rather than later: Is my prenup enforceable?
Wisconsin Marital Agreements
A Wisconsin prenuptial or marital agreement is a contract that two parties enter into before getting married that usually establishes what will happen with their assets if they divorce. These documents typically have terms that define who will own specific property. If spousal support is agreed, the amount and terms of payment will ordinarily be part of the agreement. Estate planning provisions, such as creating a will or trust or how property will be passed to a beneficiary, can be included as well. Wisconsin prenuptial agreements can also include arbitration and mediation provisions.
Unenforceable Agreements and Terms
In Wisconsin, in order for a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable, it has to have been equitably created. When preparing a marital property agreement, each party must fairly and reasonably disclose their financial status to the other person. The agreement must be entered into voluntarily and freely, and the division must be fair to both parties.
Prenuptial agreements cannot include terms related to child custody or support. Decisions pertaining to the best interests of children cannot be agreed to and can only be made in the family courts. Although spousal maintenance agreements can be part of a prenuptial agreement, they may not be enforceable if they create unreasonable financial hardship for one party.
Ideally, you will have the advice of an experienced family law attorney when preparing and reviewing your Wisconsin marital property agreement. Your counsel can help ensure that your interests are protected and that your prenuptial document contains the right language.
Karyn Youso is an experienced family law attorney who has experience helping clients with Wisconsin marital property agreements. Come in and let us take a “first look” at your circumstances and get the information you need to make informed decisions. Please contact us at First Look Family Law to schedule a consultation.