People enter into Prenuptial Agreements prior to a marriage for a number of reasons, but principally because it identifies assets that will remain outside the reach of the other person and how the parties should conduct themselves in the event of a divorce or death. A properly executed prenuptial agreement will likely save the parties considerable time and expense oftentimes associated with a fully- litigated divorce by establishing the division of assets and alimony obligation that will be put in place in the event of a divorce.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has outlined what is required for a Massachusetts Prenuptial Agreement to be enforceable. In determining whether the Prenuptial Agreement is enforceable, the trial judge considers a number of factors, such as whether the parties were represented by counsel, whether there was full and adequate disclosure of the assets to be protected, whether the parties had adequate time to review and understand the agreement and its effect and whether the parties understood his/her rights in absence of the agreement. It is imperative that a person who wishes to enter into a Prenuptial Agreement with his/her future spouse contact an attorney well in advance of their wedding date, as it may take a few months to negotiate the terms of the agreement, gather and exchange financial documentation, review the terms of the agreement and their effect, and discuss the statutory marital rights that the parties would have in the absence of the Prenuptial Agreement.
- Jennifer R. Silva, Esq.