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Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements

Decades prior, courts disapproved of prenuptial agreements, trusting that they transformed a holy and individual bond into a money related course of action. Throughout the years, be that as it may, courts understood that marriage and divorce have monetary ramifications for every spouse, and started enabling couples to decide their own budgetary future by going into agreements that decided how their accounts would be settled in case of a divorce.

If you or your future spouse are considering a prenuptial agreement, you should understand how they work in your state. This article explains how prenuptial agreements work in Utah, and how to ensure your agreement is enforceable.

A prenuptial agreement, also called a “matrimonial agreement” in Utah, is a contract a couple makes to determine how their assets and debts will be divided if they divorce or one spouse dies. The agreement becomes effective when the couple gets married.

Should You Get a Prenuptial Agreement?

There are various reasons a couple might need to go into a prenuptial agreement. While prenuptial agreements are regularly viewed as “unromantic,” studies have demonstrated that they really increment marital bliss by giving the two spouses sureness about their budgetary future, enabling them to concentrate more on their present relationship.
Some people want a prenuptial agreement to protect their assets when marrying someone with significantly less wealth. People who have children from previous relationships often use these agreements to make sure their children’s right to inherit is protected from claims by the new spouse. Others may simply want the prenuptial agreement for tax considerations, or to plan their division of property and alimony ahead of time, especially when one spouse plans not to work during the marriage.

A married couple is automatically part of the “legal matrimonial regime,” which means that if the couple divorces, their property is distributed according to Utah law. Couples can opt out of the legal regime by signing a prenuptial agreement, which places them in the “contractual regime.” This means the couple’s own agreement will determine who gets what, even if the law would require a different division absent a prenuptial agreement. Couples may also choose the “separate property regime,” which means that each spouse uses, enjoys and disposes of his or her own property without the consent of the other spouse.

Spouses may enter into a prenuptial agreement regarding any issues that are not covered by law, but usually the agreement covers the following: (1) each spouse’s rights to property owned by each of them, and jointly as a couple; (2) how assets and debts are divided if the couple divorces or one spouse dies; (3) whether one spouse will pay the other alimony, and if so, the amount and duration; (4) whether a spouse must reimburse the other for certain amounts spent during the marriage; (5) how the spouses will pay expenses during the marriage; (6) whether the terms of the agreement take effect upon divorce, death, or some other event. Prenuptial agreements may not include (a) an agreement about temporary alimony (spousal support paid while the divorce is still pending); (b) an agreement about sexual activity between spouses; (c) a requirement that alimony be paid regardless of fault, including adultery, or (d) an allowance for one spouse to dispose of community property, or property belonging to the other spouse, to a third person.

What About Child Support?

Prenuptial agreements can never determine child custody or child support.
The right to child support belongs to the child, not to the parent receiving child support. A parent has no authority to contract away the child’s right to be supported financially by both parents.
Child custody is determined either by the court at the time the parents separate, or by the parents’ agreement at the time they separate, with the court’s approval. The court will either decide or approve child custody based on what is in the child’s best interest at the time the parents separate.

The couple must put its prenuptial agreement in writing and both spouses must sign the contract. The document must outline all of the assets and liabilities of each of the parties (or spouses to get married). This means you list out all of your money and wealth as well as your debts and obligations. The spouses are required to sign the agreement before a notary, and each must be represented by a different lawyer from a different law firm and each of the prenup lawyers must sign it. All signatures should be completed before the marriage. The longer before the marriage the better. Your lawyer should keep a copy on file. Call us to talk about this if you have questions.

Utah courts typically enforce prenuptial agreements. The court will invalidate (throw out) the agreement if it has not been signed by both spouses, a notary, and two witnesses before the marriage.
The court will also invalidate the agreement if any of the following rules for Utah contracts have not been met: First is Capacity. Both spouses must be mentally competent (that is, not suffering from mental illness, mental deficiency, or intoxication) and of legal age to be married. Second is Consent. Both spouses must freely and voluntarily sign the agreement. This is No fatal errors. The agreement can’t have serious errors that make the intent of the couple unclear. Fourth is No fraud. Both spouses must have honestly disclosed their assets and debts to the other, and neither spouse may have tricked the other into signing the agreement. Finally, Fifth is no duress. Neither spouse may have forced the other to sign the agreement or threatened serious injury to coerce the other to sign it. If you are considering signing a prenuptial agreement, you should consult a Utah family law attorney for advice.

Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Free Consultation

When you need legal help with a prenuptial agreement, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506