If you’re about to get married or have already entered into a marriage, you may have some questions about pre- and postnuptial agreements and how they can protect you in the event of divorce. Or if you’re facing divorce, you may have questions about how your pre- or postnuptial agreement will affect you.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
In the event of a divorce in Washington, property generally is divided by the courts in a way that is equitable and just. For couples who have a prenuptial agreement, the terms of the division of property in the event of a divorce are different.
A prenuptial agreement is a legal agreement that a couple enters into before taking marriage vows. The agreement details how property will be divided in the event of a divorce. Typically, a prenuptial agreement protects spouses with a large number of finances or assets from losing those assets in the event of a divorce. But a prenuptial agreement also can help ensure the spouse with fewer assets is protected in the event of divorce.
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What is a Postnuptial Agreement?
The biggest difference between a prenuptial and a postnuptial agreement is that a prenuptial is an agreement made before a marriage, whereas a postnuptial agreement is one made after a marriage. Another name for a postnuptial agreement is a property status agreement. Again, talk to a postnuptial agreement attorney in Bellevue if you require assistance with this type of agreement.
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Who Can Seek a Pre- or Postnuptial Agreement?
Anyone who is about to enter into a marriage or is already married can seek a pre- or postnuptial agreement to protect their property. However, both pre- and postnuptial agreements will be invalid if they don’t meet certain criteria.
In order for the agreement to be valid, the following must be true.
- There must be a full disclosure of assets from both parties.
- The agreement must be fair and reasonable.
- Each spouse must be individually represented.
- Each spouse must enter the agreement freely and willingly.
If the agreement is not followed during a couple’s marriage, it may be rendered unenforceable in the event of a divorce.
What if I’m not Married or Planning to Marry?
For those who aren’t married – either in same-sex or opposite-sex relationships – there still are legal options available to those wishing to protect their assets. Property status agreements and cohabitation agreements are legal agreements designed for those who are in long-term, committed relationships but are not married. A cohabitation agreement can define the rights and responsibilities of each partner in the relationship and can establish an agreement over what will happen with property in the event of a separation.
How Can a Postnuptial or Prenuptial Agreement Attorney in Seattle Help?
Understanding your rights regarding pre- and postnuptial agreements can be complicated. If you’re confused about your contractual agreements and what you may be entitled to in the event of a divorce, an attorney can act as your legal advocate and guide.