Needham Prenup Attorney
When you get married, you never anticipate that it will end in divorce. Yet divorce is incredibly common in the United States, where – according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau – 36.4% of people have been divorced. With these statistics in mind, it often makes sense to plan for the future before saying “I do.”
A prenuptial agreement (prenup) is a smart way for a couple to protect themselves and their assets in the event of a divorce. Prenups aren’t just a good idea for people who have a lot of money or assets. Almost any couple could benefit from a prenup agreement to plan how they will combine or separate their finances both during the marriage and in the event of a divorce.
Infinity Law Group represents individuals and families in the greater Needham, Massachusetts region in all types of family law matters – including drafting prenuptial agreements. We work with our clients to understand their goals, and then craft a custom agreement that meets their needs. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a Needham divorce attorney, give our law office a call.
What Is a Prenup Agreement?
In Massachusetts, a prenup is also referred to as an antenuptial settlement. Whatever you call it, the basic premise is the same: it is a contract between two people who plan to get married. A prenup sets out how property and assets will be divided if the couple ultimately gets divorced.
There is a common misconception that a prenuptial agreement isn’t romantic, or that it is essentially planning for a marriage to fail before it even starts. In reality, it is smart planning for many couples. This is particularly true for second marriages or in situations where one partner has substantially more assets than the other.
A prenup can address a number of issues related to property and assets, such as:
- An interest in a business or professional practice;
- Inheritance for children from previous marriages;
- How property will be characterized (separate vs. marital property);
- Alimony; and
- Division of premarital assets and debts.
However, prenuptial agreements cannot limit or waive child support.
To be valid under Massachusetts law, an antenuptial settlement must be reasonable and fair at (1) the time that it was signed and (2) the time of the judgment of divorce. In addition to setting out parameters for property division and alimony, it must also include a schedule of property (full financial disclosure) from each party to the contract. If the parties ultimately divorce, then the prenup will be examined to determine how property should be divided.
There are many situations where it is a good idea to have a prenuptial agreement. For example, if a couple gets married for a second time later in life, they may wish to protect their existing assets so that they can be passed down to their children. Similarly, if one member of the couple owns part of a family-owned business, then it may be smart to have a prenuptial agreement that specifies that their interest is separate property that is not subject to property division in a divorce.
No matter what your current financial situation may be, a prenuptial agreement might make sense for you. A skilled Needham prenup attorney can work with you to determine if such a contract is logical. They can also help you draft a prenup that will stand up if challenged in court.
Do I Need a Needham Prenup Lawyer?
In the modern era, it seems like we can get anything we want online – from companionship to recipes to therapy. There are also a number of services that offer legal documents for free or low cost via the internet. While an online prenup template may seem like a good way to save money, using a generic template can often backfire.
Remember: Massachusetts law sets out precise requirements for antenuptial settlements. If the prenup doesn’t conform to the law or if a judge decides that it was not reasonable or fair to one of the parties, then the entire agreement could be thrown out – leaving you completely unprotected.
A prenup is examined for reasonableness and fairness at two points in time. Even if the prenuptial agreement was deemed to be fair at the time that it was signed, a judge may decide during a “second look” that the agreement cannot be enforced. Without the advice and guidance of a Needham prenup attorney, it can be hard to know if your prenup will hold up in court – which destroys the point of having an agreement.
While you are not required to have a lawyer for a prenuptial agreement in Massachusetts, there are a lot of benefits to working with a seasoned attorney. First, the entire point of having a prenup is to protect your assets in the event of a divorce. You may save a small amount of money by using an online template – but you may lose multiple times that amount if your prenup is deemed unenforceable.
Second, there are laws that govern property division and real estate in Massachusetts. Without the advice and counsel of a lawyer, you may believe that you have yourself covered only to find out that you didn’t exactly get it right.
For example, consider a scenario where an older couple gets married. They decide that they will live in the wife’s home, which she purchased with her first husband and where she raised her children. They use an online prenup template with a goal of giving the second husband a life estate in the home if she passes first, with the house going to her children after he dies. If they failed to set this up properly because they wanted to save some money using a generic form, then her kids’ could lose their family home entirely.
Third, there are a lot of other issues that are related to property division that must be considered – such as tax implications for each spouse. A skilled Needham prenup attorney can advise you about how your proposed prenuptial agreement will affect you in a divorce, taking into consideration a broad legal landscape.
Fourth, if the prenup contains an invalid provision – related to child support or another issue – it could be invalidated. An attorney can work with you to help you understand what can and cannot be included in your prenup agreement so that the goal of the agreement is realized.
Ultimately, there is little point in having a prenup if it won’t be enforced by a court or if it doesn’t accomplish what you want. Having a lawyer draft the contract can help to ensure that a court upholds your agreement – and that your assets are truly protected in the event of a divorce.
How Long Before a Wedding Should You Get a Prenup?
While each situation is unique, it is generally a good idea to get a prenuptial agreement drafted and signed at least 3 to 6 months before the wedding itself. The reason why is simple: the closer to the actual wedding the prenup is signed, the more likely a court will be to invalidate it because one party may have been pressured into signing it. When a couple signs a prenup well in advance of the wedding, then it may eliminate the argument that the contract was a product of duress or coercion.
If you are considering getting a prenup, your best bet is to contact a Needham prenup attorney as soon as possible before the wedding. Reach out to Infinity Law Group today to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team.
Can Alimony Be Waived in a Prenup?
Yes. It is possible to waive alimony in a prenuptial agreement. However, that waiver should be done with significant disclosures. Separate counsel should represent the party waiving their alimony.
Even with a solid waiver in place, a court still may invalidate this provision and order alimony. A seasoned Needham prenup attorney can help you determine if it makes sense to try to waive alimony in an agreement – or even design a formula for when and how alimony will be paid. Contact Infinity Law Group today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
What Happens If a Party Does Not Disclose Their Assets in a Prenup?
Under Massachusetts law, a prenuptial agreement must include a full and fair disclosure of each party’s financial interests. This includes all assets, debts, properties, income, and business interests. If one party fails to provide full and fair disclosure, then the prenup may be invalidated. Similarly, if a party includes fraudulent or incorrect information – such as undervaluing a business asset – then the agreement may not be upheld in court.
The best way to ensure that your assets are truly protected is by working with a Needham prenup lawyer. They can ensure that your property schedule is correct, and increase the likelihood that the agreement is valid. Contact Infinity Law Group today to learn more about how we can help.
Reach Out to Learn More about How Our Law Firm Can Help
A prenuptial agreement is a great way to ensure that a divorce won’t destroy what you have spent a lifetime building. For many couples, a prenup simply makes good sense. A seasoned Needham family law attorney can work with you to draft a strong prenuptial agreement that is fair to both parties and that will be upheld in court.
At Infinity Law Group, we understand that each family is unique. We work with our clients to help them achieve their goals in a range of family law cases, from prenup agreements to divorce to child custody and support. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a Needham prenup lawyer, give us a call at 617-209-2230 or fill out our online contact form.