Most adults in Michigan and beyond will sign contracts at some point in their lives. If you're a business owner, newly hired employee, home buyer or spouse who has filed for divorce, you have likely or will be signing a legally enforceable agreement. There are two types of contracts that often get bad raps. These are prenuptial and postnuptial agreements; however, they can help you protect your assets and can also help protect you from certain liabilities.
Like many other engaged or already married couples, you and your significant other might hesitate in discussing this topic for fear of being unromantic. You might change your mind, however, after researching the benefits associated with these valuable planning tools. In fact, some people credit prenuptial or postnuptial agreements for helping them build stronger relationships.
Peace of mind helps spouses avoid contention
Signing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement doesn't mean you are dooming your relationship to fail. One of the greatest benefits many Michigan residents say they gained from their agreements is peace of mind. Like most forward thinkers, it's only natural that you want to be as prepared as you can for the unexpected. Separate asset ownership, specific liability and other contract terms might help you and your partner worry less and enjoy your relationship more.
Takes care of all the non-parent issues ahead of time
Whether or not you're already a parent, you no doubt consider children's best interests a high priority in marriage. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement helps avoid problems regarding property division, future inheritance and earnings so that you can focus all your attention on what's best for your children if a divorce occurs. Even if you are not a parent, it's a plus to know that you won't have to squabble over who owns what or owes what if you decide to divorce.
Important side notes
If you sign a prenuptial agreement, it doesn't mean you can never change your mind. You and your spouse can legally amend your contract or even revoke it if you later decide to do so. Also, specific circumstances may prompt a judge to invalidate a signed agreement, such as if a person proves that he or she was under duress when the signing took place.
Postnuptial versus prenuptial
Perhaps you married without signing a prenuptial agreement but have since decided that you want to get a few things in writing regarding asset protection, liabilities or possible alimony issues should a divorce ever occur. A postnuptial agreement means that you and your spouse enter a contract together after your wedding day. As with prenuptial documents, a postnup does not pertain to child support issues, which the court would decide under state guidelines on an individual basis.
Know where to seek support
No one expects you to know all there is to know about prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. If you and your significant other are unsure about a particular issue or have already signed a contract but have run into a problem, you can seek legal guidance at any time from someone who is well-versed in Michigan family law.