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Prenuptial Agreements in Michigan: What You Need to Know

Clarkston Legal Nov. 15, 2019

documentsMany Millenials are children of divorce. So, they are often willing to do almost anything to ensure that their own marriages last. So, it is not surprising that Millennials obtain prenuptial agreements in record numbers. Unlike their mothers and fathers, these new husbands and wives understand the full value of a prenuptial pact.

These pacts are not just divorce insurance, and that reason alone may be enough to at least consider a prenuptial agreement. Divorce may be unlikely, but it is also potentially expensive, and it makes sense to prepare for the unexpected. Even more, however, prenuptial agreements put marriages on stronger foundations. These contracts address many issues that commonly cause marital strife, so these arguments never have a chance to poison your relationship.

Making a Premarital Agreement

Financial matters dominate most prenuptial agreements. These matters include both property distribution and spousal support.

Arguments over these and related matters cause many disagreements. Basically, some people are savers, and some people are spenders. If you do not view money the same way as your spouse, and there is a good chance that is true, a premarital agreement keeps you from butting heads in this area. Since the decisions are already made, there is no need to fight about them.

Premarital agreements also often cover succession and inheritance matters. These issues are significant, particularly if either spouse has been married before. In most cases, divorce severs all inheritance and succession ties. Many times, that’s not the intended result, especially if a family business is involved.

Prenuptial agreements can cover almost any other issue as well, except for child custody and support matters. The best interests of the children, and not the best interests of the parents, controls these areas.

Breaking Premarital Agreements in Michigan

The Wolverine State is among the minority of jurisdictions which has not adopted the Uniform Marital and Premarital Agreements Act. So, breaking a prenuptial agreement in Michigan is very different from breaking a pact in Illinois, Wisconsin, and other UMPAA states.

Michigan state law determines when a spouse can overturn an unfavorable premarital agreement. Generally, agreements are valid if all the following are present:

  • Not Unconscionable: There is a difference between unconscionable and uneven. 60-40 is uneven but certainly not unconscionable. The same could be said for 70-30. More unequal divisions are clearly unconscionable.

  • Full Disclosure: Especially with regard to financial matters, neither spouse can withhold material information from the other spouse. In some Michigan jurisdictions, challenging spouse must also show they could not have obtained the missing information elsewhere.

  • No Undue Influence: A “sign or else” ultimatum may constitute undue influence, especially if one spouse sprang a prenuptial agreement on the other spouse at the eleventh hour.

  • No Material Change: Stock shares are a good example of this factor. Stock could be virtually worthless at one point, and extremely valuable some time later. A few hundred shares of Amazon stock were just pieces of paper in the 1990s, but they may be enough to retire on today.

Most prenuptial agreements have severability clauses. So, if a judge invalidates one portion, all other provisions are still in effect.

Contact a Dedicated Lawyer

Prenuptial agreements often make marriages stronger. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Oakland County prenuptial agreements attorney, contact Clarkston Legal. Convenient payment plans are available.


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