When preparing for marriage, most couples are thinking about where to have the ceremony, what type of cake to have at the wedding reception and ordering their rings. They aren’t planning for divorce.
While some view antenuptial agreements as planning for the worst, they can be a helpful tool for couples looking to protect property they have each accumulated before marriage.
Antenuptial agreements address how assets will be divided in the event a couple decides to divorce. They must include several elements under Ohio law to be valid.
The agreement must be made before the couple marries and the terms cannot encourage the parties to divorce. It also may not be entered into under fraud, duress or coercion.
Fraud can include misrepresentation or deceit. Duress and coercion mean that the decision to enter into the agreement was made under pressure, which can include threats or force.
Finally, each party must disclose the nature and value of his or her property before the marriage.
Property division without an antenuptial agreement
If couples marry in Ohio without an antenuptial agreement in place and later divorce, a court will decide how to divide property in a manner equitable to each party. The court may consider factors such as how long the parties have been married, the debts and assets of each spouse and tax consequences of the property division, among others.
An experienced lawyer can draft an antenuptial agreement with terms that are fair and represent each spouse’s interests.
Antenuptial agreements are a useful planning tool and offer protection for spouses in the event the marriage dissolves.