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Prenuptial Agreements

Fort Wayne Family Law Attorney Drafts Reliable Prenuptial Agreements

Proven advocate provides strong protections for Indianans considering marriage

Decades ago, prenuptial agreements were frowned upon as unromantic, pessimistic and even cynical. But, over the years, these contracts have proven to be very beneficial in many ways. Yes, prenups do help parties with significant assets safeguard their wealth. If divorce comes, parties with valid prenups are protected. But having a prenup also relieves financial pressures that could prompt a divorce. Parties have greater peace of mind, so they can focus on other areas of concern. If you are planning to get married, it’s worth your time to investigate whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you. At Patterson Law LLC in Fort Wayne, an accomplished family law attorney is ready to provide the reliable guidance you need.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two parties who are contemplating marriage. Indiana’s Uniform Premarital Agreement Act allows prenups to cover a variety of topics, such as:

  • Property rights — Parties can declare certain assets and debts as separate or marital property. Separate property is not subject to equitable distribution in the event of divorce. A prenup can also determine which party has the right to manage and control property. A prenup can cover the disposition of property upon other triggering events, such as the death of one of the spouses. Finally, a prenup can regulate how the couple manages gifts and inheritances.
  • Spousal support — A prenup can set terms for alimony or even rule out spousal support in the event of divorce or legal separation. However, a court can overrule this part if enforcement would cause undue financial hardship, especially if the impacted spouse would be forced onto public assistance.
  • Documents necessary to carry out the prenup — A prenup can dictate terms for the drafting of a will, trust or other arrangement to facilitate its terms.
  • Rights to benefits — Items such as a death benefit from a life insurance policy or a share in a retirement fund can be included.
  • Applicable law — Parties can choose the law that will govern the construction of the agreement.

The law allows parties to include “Any other matter that isn’t in violation of public policy or criminal law.” Couples cannot enter into an agreement that denies appropriate child support for children of the marriage, because child support is the right of the child, not the parents.

What makes a prenuptial agreement valid?

A prenuptial agreement should follow the form of any contract. Lawyers break contracts down into offer, acceptance and consideration. Simply put, the draft of the document represents an offer, signing the document signifies acceptance, and going through with the marriage provides consideration to make the contract enforceable. But when a party challenges the prenup in court, Indiana law points to two factors a judge must consider:

  • Was it voluntary? — If there was coercion, duress or emotional manipulation to compel signing, the prenup would be invalid. The classic example is the groom who presents a prenup on the eve of the wedding and threatens to cancel everything if the bride doesn’t sign.
  • Was it unconscionable at the time of the signing? — If the contract was unfair when it was formed, unjustly enriching one party while subjecting the other to hardship, it is invalid. This may be an issue when one party is much more financially sophisticated than the other.

To avoid these problems, each party should retain a knowledgeable family law attorney to negotiate the prenup well in advance of the wedding.

Contact an Indiana prenuptial agreement attorney for a consultation

Patterson Law LLC in Fort Wayne drafts prenuptial agreements for Indiana clients who are planning to get married. To schedule a consultation, please call 260-247-8383 or contact us online.

  • "Rex was very helpful and understanding of my situation. He was honest and upfront. For everything that he did for me, I am very thankful. I highly recommend Patterson Law LLC." - Hailee Gordon

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