Massachusetts & New Hampshire Family Law Attorneys
Prenuptial & Postnuptial Attorneys
Massachusetts Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreement Attorneys
A prenuptial agreement is a contract that you enter into with your future spouse prior to marriage and a postnuptial agreement is a contract that you enter into with your spouse after you are married. Both types of agreements are closely scrutinized in Massachusetts when they are offered to the Court to have the terms enforced. As a result, it is advisable to have counsel assist you in negotiating and drafting either agreement. At Socci, Nieves and Family Law Group, we can assist you in drafting and negotiating both prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements.
Prenuptial Agreement vs. Postnuptial Agreement
What are Prenups?
A prenuptial agreement is a contract that you enter into prior to marriage that allows you and your future spouse to cooperatively make future arrangements regarding the disposition of your assets and spousal support in the event that you part ways in the future.
Benefits/reasons to get one/what's protected?
- To address whether or not alimony/spousal support will be paid in the event of divorce
- To address how pre-marital assets either spouse brings into the marriage will be treated in the event of divorce
- To direct the disposition of your assets in the event you predecease your spouse
Requirements needed for a prenuptial agreement to be enforable
- A prenuptial agreement must:
- Be in writing;
- It must be written and executed before you are married;
- There must be a full disclosure of finances by each party;
- The parties’ signatures to the agreement must be notarized; and
- The agreement must not be the product of fraud or coercion.
- While the above requirements must be satisfied in order for a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable, this does not necessarily make it valid. In determining the validity of a prenuptial agreement, the Massachusetts courts must ALSO determine:
- First, whether the agreement was fair and reasonable at the time it was entered into; and
- Second, whether the agreement is fair and reasonable at the time of divorce.
- It is very important to note that prior to entering into a prenuptial agreement, both parties must make a complete and truthful disclosure of their finances, including, for instance, income, assets, and liabilities.
What are Postnuptial agreements?
A postnuptial agreement is a contract between married spouses who intend to remain married but wish to address the management and control of finances and property in the event the parties which part ways in the future. In order to be enforceable in the future, it is important to point out that a postnuptial agreement should not be entered into as part of divorce planning or in the anticipation of divorce at the time that it is entered into.
Benefits/reasons to get one/what's protected?
- Creating a postnuptial agreement may present an opportunity for communication in a marriage as it requires spouses to openly talk and cooperate with one another regarding issues that need to be addressed.
- A postnuptial agreement may assist in saving a marriage by identifying areas of conflict and tension in a marriage and addressing them in a helpful way.
- A postnuptial agreement may help to avoid conflict in the future.
Requirements needed for a postnuptial agreement to be enforable
In Ansin v. Craven-Ansin, 457 Mass. 283 (2010), the Supreme Judicial Court concluded that a postnuptial agreement may be enforced in Massachusetts, but must be scrutinized by a judge to determine:
- (1) whether each party had an opportunity to obtain the separate legal counsel of that party’s own choosing;
- (2) whether there was fraud or coercion in obtaining the agreement;
- (3) whether all assets were fully disclosed by both parties before the agreement was executed;
- (4) whether each spouse knowingly and explicitly agreed in writing to waive the right to a judicial equitable division of assets and all marital rights in the event of a divorce;
- (5) whether the terms of the agreement were fair and reasonable at the time of execution; and
- (6) whether the terms of the agreement remained fair and reasonable at the time of divorce.
Importance of Agreements
One of the most common sources of conflict in marriage arises from parties disagreeing over finances. A prenuptial agreement provides an opportunity, in advance of marriage, for future spouses to have open communications regarding their future together and how they will handle certain difficult scenarios should they come to pass. Similarly, a postnuptial agreement provides an opportunity for an already marriage couple to openly communicate regarding difficult issues with the potential of saving a marriage.
Role of Prenuptial & Postnuptial Attorneys
In Massachusetts, both prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements are closely scrutinized by the Court at the time of enforcement. Although there are no guarantees in ensuring the validity of a prenuptial and/or postnuptial agreement, having the assistance of an attorney in drafting and negotiating the terms of any agreement is of vital help not only in protecting your assets but also your family.
Benefits to Working with Socci & Nieves for Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
Provide education to the client throughout the drafting and negotiating process
Ability to draft and negotiate prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
Disclaimer: In accordance with rules established by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this website must be labeled "advertising." It is designed to provide general information for clients and friends of the firm and should not be construed as legal advice, or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.