Hanover Marital Agreements Lawyer
Marital agreements allow couples or future spouses to outline their rights and responsibilities in the event of a change in their marital status. However, these contracts can be extremely difficult to draft without the help of a Hanover marital agreements lawyer. Therefore, if you are thinking about entering a marital contract, please speak with one of our dedicated family attorneys at O’Connor Family Law. Because our team has over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience, we can help you draft a fair and legally binding document that protects you and your property.
Types of Permissible Marriage Agreements
The parties’ legal standing and intent to determine which marital contract they may enter. Couples may not combine agreements into a single settlement document. Massachusetts recognizes the following types of contracts between spouses:
- Prenuptial Agreements – Parties preparing for marriage may draft and record prenups modifying their property rights upon marriage and addressing property distribution in the event of death or divorce. Only engaged couples may enter premarital contracts, which become effective upon legal marriage.
- Postnuptial Agreements – Legally married couples may enter postnups to establish property and related rights, provided they are not contemplating separation or divorce at the time of execution. If they are contemplating a separation or divorce, a postnuptial agreement may be scrutinized at a heightened level because of the risk of one party agreeing to something to simply try to save their marriage.
- Separation and Divorce Agreements – These contracts may address alimony, property distribution, health benefits, life insurance, taxes, liabilities, child raising preferences, and other issues revolving around marriage dissolution.
Every marriage-based contract serves a unique purpose. Our dedicated attorneys in Hanover can assess your case and help you draft a marital agreement that can best protect your future.
Understanding the Scope of Marital Contracts in Hanover
Marriage substantially alters a person’s right to individual property. Without an agreement that states otherwise, both parties are presumed to jointly own property obtained during their marriage regardless of which spouse’s name the property is held under. Even property held individually before the marriage may transition into communal property throughout the duration of a marriage that must be split if the relationship terminates pursuant to a divorce. Marital agreements, whether drafted in anticipation of or after the marriage, may change the character of whether the property is to be considered as an individual or marital property and address the ownership of any property or debt if the marriage terminates.
For instance, if one spouse starts a business during their marriage, a marital contract could allow this party to keep full ownership of their business in the event of divorce. Additionally, a domestic agreement could allow someone to invest in their partner’s business while protecting the other spouse’s individual right to ownership. Another example may be protecting a home that was purchased by one person prior to the marriage and clarify that it is to remain that person’s individual property if the marriage ends.
These contracts may also be beneficial in situations that involve parties who have children or substantial property from another marriage. For instance, if a woman has children from a previous marriage and is considering getting remarried, a marital agreement could state that this child’s inheritance is not subject to division in the event of divorce. There are many issues that can be included within a prenuptial agreement; however, if a prenuptial agreement addresses the care and custody of children, that part of the agreement will not be enforceable. Couples partnering in business or with children from previous relationships should discuss the protections offered by marital agreements with a lawyer in the area.
Enforceability of Marital Contracts
Contracts made in preparation of a wedding, during marriage, or in anticipation of divorce do not follow traditional business contract laws. Couples may execute such contracts, provided the agreements are reasonable. Not every state requires reasonableness, but Massachusetts’ judges strictly analyze these documents to ensure fairness between the parties.
Therefore, state laws limit the terms of spousal contracts and describe specific requirements that an agreement must meet to be legally enforceable. Mistakenly treating nuptial agreements as normal contacts can result in invalidity regardless the parties’ intent. A local attorney may discuss the following special guidelines applicable to marital agreements:
- Marriage-based contract laws only apply to legally binding and valid marriages
- Parties must generally disclose all assets (i.e., homes, stocks, money) to one another before modifying their joint ownership rights
- Spousal agreements may not include terms on child support, custody, and visitation, as the best interests of the child control such arrangements
- A court may void these agreements if they are deemed unfair when executed or at the time one party is seeking for the agreement to be enforced
- Each spouse should retain individual legal counsel when drafting marital contracts to avoid risk coercion-based invalidity claims
Speak with a Hanover Marital Agreements Attorney
Marital contracts can help many couples in various stages of their marriage. Retaining a dedicated Hanover marital agreements lawyer at O’Connor Family Law sooner rather than later could help protect you from future liability and establish your property rights. Discuss your needs with our qualified family law team today.