Our Washington State prenuptial agreement lawyers are often asked if prenups are even valid or enforceable. There seems to be a widespread misperception that they are no longer accepted by our courts. This is untrue. Despite rumors to the contrary, these agreements remain an important part of Washington’s divorce laws.
Listen, no one likes the idea of entering a marriage with the thought that it will one day fail. It is also often an extremely difficult discussion to have with your future spouse. If, however, you have significant assets prior to entering into your contemplated marriage, you owe it to yourself to proactively explore your options.What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
At its core, this type of agreement is really nothing more than a contract entered into by two people prior to their marriage. Within this contract, the parties decide how their debts and assets will be divided if they end up getting a divorce, filing for legal separation, seeking an annulment, or when one of them dies.
The prenuptial memorializes all of these agreements and attempts to set them out clearly and precisely before the parties are married. In certain situations, couples wait until after they are married to make these arrangements. In these situations, the contract is then often referred to as a “marital agreement” or a "postnuptial agreement".Is a Prenup Enforceable?
The general rule for enforceability of prenuptial agreements is that they must be fair and transparent. As a practical matter, they are much more likely to be enforced by a court down the road if it is both equitable and if the parties are honest, clear and transparent about their assets and debts in the disclosure sections of the contract.
This includes their finances, their salaries and other income, their possessions, their property, and their liabilities. The court is really looking to see if the both of the parties entered into the agreement with their eyes wide open and with a complete disclosure on each side.
For obvious reasons, coercion and lack of detail are frowned upon. Another problem that can arise with these type of contracts is when one or both of the parties fails to follow them during the marriage. Depending on the specific facts and circumstances involved, this can sometimes make the prenup wholly or partially unenforceable.Do you Need Washington Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers to Make These Kinds of Agreements?
From a purely legal standpoint, a prenuptial agreement does not have to be drafted by an attorney to be enforceable. As a practical matter, however, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be very complex. More importantly, they can be deemed unenforceable if they are not carefully written. That's why it is important to have the help from experienced Washington prenuptial agreement attorneys if you would like to pursue this.
Our Washington State prenuptial agreement lawyers will ensure that your agreement has the best chance of being enforced.
While there are no absolute guarantees when it comes to prenups, our Washington prenuptial agreement attorneys can help make sure your agreement has the best chance of being enforced down the road given the specific facts of your situation. The Washington State prenuptial agreement lawyers from our firm will also require that your future spouse seek out independent legal counsel prior to memorializing the contract. This means that they will have their own attorney review the agreement prior to accepting its terms.Washington State Divorce law
The laws that govern marriage are found in Chapter 26 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). Under Washington State law, and setting aside all religious or personal issues, marriage is really nothing more than a civil contract between a woman and a man.
If the parties meet certain requirements about age, marital status, consanguinity (whether and how closely two people are related) and competency, they are legally able to marry. Upon marriage, certain obligations are assumed. This is particularly true if the marriage lasts a number of years and/or if the parties have children.
Prior to marrying, the parties must obtain a "marriage license" from the county auditor. And, only qualified individuals may solemnize a marriage. The law also governs marriages that do not meet the legal requirements and that are not valid at all (void) and marriages that may be voidable. This is often referred to as an annulment. If you have any doubts about meeting legal requirements for getting married in Washington, you should consult an attorney.
The fact that a person is married can affect many aspects of life, such as insurance coverage, property ownership, responsibility for debt, inheritance, and rights about that person’s children. As a result, contemplation of prenuptial agreement involves many variables. A well drafted agreement will incorporate all of these issues to the extent that they are relevant at the time that the parties wed.
When you get married, you may need to make changes to insurance policies, your will, financial accounts, benefits (like Social Security) or other arrangements you have regarding your living situation. business, or finances. Again, a good Washington State prenuptial agreement will consider these factors and incorporate them.
In certain circumstances, changes to such arrangements become effective just by getting married. You should make sure you know whether you need to inform your bank, government agencies, landlord, employer or others about your marriage so that they can make any necessary changes to agreements or records. A failure to do so could be very problematic down the road.If you Have Questions Regarding Washington’s Divorce Laws, call our Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers in Washington State Today!
If you or your fiancé have children from a previous relationship, own a business or other property, have debt, or have unresolved legal responsibilities, getting legal advice prior to getting married can be very important. Our prenuptial attorneys in Washington will help you to understand your rights and responsibilities. Speak with our Washington prenuptial agreement attorneys today for your contact us!