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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. Postnuptial agreements are documents executed after a marriage establishing certain rights and obligations, and waivers of the parties.
Prenuptial contracts can address issues of spousal support and a division of marital assets in the event of a divorce, and also address waivers of estate claims. Massachusetts courts require that prenuptial agreements be fair and reasonable when made and not unconscionable at the time of divorce. A well-drafted, even-handed 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 potentially 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 alimony obligations.
Prenuptial agreements can be enforced by Massachusetts courts and, therefore, parties considering entering into a prenuptial agreement should properly consider their options. It is advisable for anyone considering entering into a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial 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 and postnuptial agreements, as well as represent client’s seeking to enforce or challenge existing agreements in the event of a divorce.