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Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements, or antenuptial agreements as they are often called in Massachusetts, are documents executed prior to a marriage disclosing each party's financial circumstances, and establishing the financial rights and obligations of the parties upon death or divorce.

Prenuptial contracts can provide a plan for spousal support, a division of marital assets and waivers of estate claims in the event of a divorce. Massachusetts courts require that prenuptial agreements be fair and reasonable when made and not unconscionable at the time of divorce. A well-drafted, evenhanded prenuptial agreement can function as a method for parties to avoid a judicial determination of their financial rights and obligations upon a divorce, avoiding the application of the statutorily required factors usually utilized, and avoiding litigation which can wreak a high emotional and financial toll.

Prenuptial agreements can be an excellent means of protecting premarital, family or corporate assets, ensuring the inheritance of children from a prior marriage, and limiting potential spousal support obligations.

Prenuptial agreements are usually held to be enforceable by Massachusetts courts and, therefore, parties considering entering into a prenuptial agreement should properly consider their options and any draft agreement. It is advisable for anyone considering entering into a prenuptial agreement to seek legal advice from independent counsel who can review the agreement and offer advice as to whether it is in the client's best interests to execute the agreement. The Law Offices of Miriam G. Altman, PC, can assist in drafting and reviewing prenuptial agreements, as well as in challenging existing agreements in the event of a divorce.

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