In Massachusetts a prenuptial agreement defines the rights and responsibilities of spouses once they marry. These newly defined rights and responsibilities are usually significantly different than the legal rights and responsibilities a spouse may have under divorce law in Massachusetts. An enforced prenuptial agreement defines which assets will and will not be divided between spouses. A prenuptial agreement can also define whether spousal support/alimony is paid or not; and if paid, the amount to be paid. In other words, an enforced prenuptial agreement in MA has the effect of limiting what a divorce judge is able to order in a final divorce, as the judge uses the terms of the prenuptial agreement and not divorce law to determine how assets are divided and whether spousal support/alimony is paid. However, for a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable there needs to be full financial disclosure by both and an understanding of the terms that are being included in this prenuptial agreement that will supersede state law in the event of divorce or death. Therefore, whether you are the person with assets to be protected, or the person who is waiving your rights under divorce law, it is imperative that you have ample time before the wedding to understand finances, to understand the divorce law you are waiving and to negotiate the terms of the prenuptial agreement that fits best for you both. Like most important things in life, you need time to do it right. As your wedding date approaches, the many preparations required for your special day are stressful enough. Why add the stress of last-minute negotiations to complete a prenuptial agreement? If possible, give yourself at least six months before the wedding date, especially if complex finances or family demands are involved. Then relax and enjoy your wedding!
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