While some worry that they are controversial or unromantic, prenuptial agreements are a smart and effective way to plan for your future and protect your interests prior to your marriage. Prenuptial agreements are governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreements Act in Indiana, found at Indiana Code 31-11-3. A prenuptial agreement is an agreement between prospective spouses that is executed in contemplation of marriage and becomes effective upon marriage. A prenuptial agreement remains valid during the entirety of the parties’ marriage, unless the agreement is modified in writing by both of the parties.
Prenuptial agreements allow the parties to work together to determine what they want to happen to their property, i.e. their assets and debts, upon the parties’ divorce or upon death. Prenuptial agreements bind the parties to the terms of the agreement as long as the terms are valid. A prenuptial agreement can contract away a spouse’s right to maintenance at the time of divorce, except in cases of maintenance when one of the parties is disabled. A prenuptial agreement cannot bound the parties to any terms relating to the care or custody of children, or waive any rights that a child is entitled to under Indiana law. Parties may bind the terms of their estate planning in their prenuptial agreement. If the parties are still married when one of the spouses passes away, the prenuptial agreement will supersede both the will and the rights of the spouse under Indiana law. Prior to entering into a prenuptial agreement, both parties should fully understand their rights under Indiana law and how the prenuptial agreement differs from those rights.
Prenuptial agreements should be customized between the parties in a way that best suits their needs. There are several options to consider when drafting a prenuptial agreement. One benefit is to determine how to fairly divide assets and debts prior to marriage so that the parties will not find themselves entrenched in a legal battle should they decide to divorce.
There are a lot of reasons to pursue a prenuptial agreement prior to your marriage. Prenuptial agreements are becoming more common and are not only utilized by the extremely wealthy. A prenuptial agreement needs to be drafted prior to the parties’ marriage. If you are contemplating marriage, speak to the experienced attorneys at Slotegraaf Niehoff about whether a prenuptial agreement makes sense for you.