Pre-Nuptial Agreements, which are also known as Ante-Nuptial Agreements, are important. They are common in second marriages where someone has been divorced or widowed, and is about to remarry, with the goal to protect children of a prior marriage, and/or to keep separate the property that each person brings into a new marriage. Pre-nuptial agreements are also often drafted for first marriages, where one or both of the parties come from wealthy families, and it is important to protect premarital assets and/or future inheritances.
A pre-nuptial agreement is meant to handle the orderly disposition of property either in a divorce or a death. They are valid in Michigan, and can cover every issue including property, and alimony issues in the event of a divorce. It is important that you be carefully advised because for a pre-nuptial agreement to be enforced, they should be drafted in an arm’s-length transaction, with each party having an attorney. They should include a list of the assets that each party is bringing into the marriage, and what is to be done with these assets. They are looked at regarding fairness at the time that they are signed, and fairness at the time that they are being enforced. By and large, the courts in Michigan enforce them in almost all situations, even where there is a divorce after many years of marriage.
Every situation is different, and it is important that you consult with a specialist who has experience in the area of pre-nuptial agreements. Henry S. Gornbein has drafted, negotiated and litigated numerous prenuptial agreements. He has been involved in many cases where issues involving prenuptial agreements have been litigated. He would be glad to advise you and answer your questions.