Prenuptial agreements, which are also called premarital agreements or simply “prenups,” are a very useful tool for marrying couples. These agreements are very broad in scope, and can be used to help clarify each spouse’s rights and responsibilities when it comes to important matters like property, insurance, assets, and spousal support. In the event of divorce or either spouse’s death, having a prenup in place can help make the transition that much smoother, faster, and more cost-effective for all of the parties involved.
If you and your spouse are considering creating a prenuptial agreement before you get married, or if you have questions about changing or enforcing an existing agreement’s terms, West Valley City prenuptial agreements lawyer Darwin Overson can help.
What Goes in a Prenuptial Agreement?
The popular idea that “only wealthy people need to make a prenup” is both misleading and inaccurate. Anyone can benefit from outlining a clear prenuptial agreement, regardless of their income, assets, or other financial factors. In accordance with Utah’s Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, may be used to address any and all of the following matters:
- Each spouse’s rights and responsibilities regarding either party’s property, regardless of where that property is located. This includes your right to lease, sell, buy, mortgage, abandon, or otherwise manage the property, as well as how the property should be divided in the event of death, separation, or divorce.
- Changing or terminating any alimony arrangements you may have in the future.
- Life insurance policy rights.
In fact, the law goes so far as to state that your prenuptial agreement may cover “any other matter,” so long as it does not violate any laws or public regulations. However, the law also provides that your child’s rights to financial support, health care, and insurance cannot be affected by your agreement.
Who Needs a Prenup?
As mentioned above, everyone stands to benefit from the foresight of a valid and unambiguous premarital agreement. However, there are certain scenarios in which preparing a well thought-out agreement is particularly important. You may be especially interesting in drafting an agreement if:
- You are concerned about incurring your spouse’s debts during the course of your marriage.
- You or your spouse cares for an ill or elderly relative.
- You own your own business.
- You have significant assets or investments, such as stocks, retirement benefits, or employment benefits.
- You wish to plan your estate for future generations, such as inheritance for children.
- You wish to clearly designate household financial matters, such as responsibility for bills or shared bank accounts.
- You are helping put your spouse through college, or vice versa.
- You are planning on sharing considerable expenses, such as buying a house together, or starting a new business together.
Is Your Prenup Enforceable?
Needless to say, a prenuptial agreement must be deemed legally enforceable in order to work as intended. The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act provides that prenups will not be considered enforceable if:
- The agreement was not entered into voluntarily, meaning one spouse coerced or intimidated the other spouse into falsely consenting.
- Any part of the agreement was fraudulent, and the innocent spouse did not have knowledge of the fraud. Whether or not a component of your agreement constitutes fraud will be determined by a judge.
As mentioned above, Utah prenuptial agreements may contain provisions to change or eliminate alimony arrangements. However, if that change or elimination would result in the recipient spouse becoming eligible for public assistance, such as welfare, then the courts may order the payor spouse to pay the recipient at least enough to remove their eligibility.
Finally, your agreement must be signed by each spouse before it can be considered officially enforceable by law.
If you’re unsure about whether a premarital agreement is right for you and your spouse, or if you’re interested in drafting a plan, a family law attorney can help guide you through the process. To set up a free and confidential consultation with an experienced West Valley City prenuptial agreements attorney, call Darwin Overson today at (801) 758-2287.