Generally, we hear about prenuptial agreements when a celebrity split is splashed across the tabloids. What you don’t usually hear about are the Grand Rapids prenup lawyers who are charged with making sure the stars are covered in the case of a high-profile divorce. We may not have a lot of famous folks here in Grand Rapids, but that doesn’t mean that our prenup lawyers don’t work just as hard for their clients.
The “prenup,” as it’s generally known goes by many names:
- Prenuptial Agreement
- Premarital Agreement
- Antenuptial Agreement
The “pre” (or “ante”) part means “before,” and “nuptial” means marriage. Therefore, it is an agreement entered into prior to a marriage contract. In fact, the prenuptial lawyer will explain to you that the prenup itself is a contract, laying out various rights and responsibilities of both parties. The fact that there are two individuals involved is an important aspect. Even though marriage means that your lives will become “one,” the prenuptial agreement extends to each spouse individually. In fact, each of the parties needs to have his or her own prenuptial lawyer in Grand Rapids.
The need for separate lawyers is due to the fact that the courts want to be sure that one spouse isn’t being unfairly disadvantaged by the prenup. When each partner has a lawyer, it helps to make sure that both parties’ interests are being looked after. This makes a prenuptial agreement much more likely to stand scrutiny later on, should one partner try to have it declared invalid for some reason.
Prenup lawyers don’t just create these kinds of agreements before a marriage has been entered into, although that is certainly the most common way it’s done in Michigan. There are times when a couple decides later on that they would like the same kinds of protection that a prenup would have offered, so they choose to have their lawyers—again, they must have separate legal counsel—draw up a postnuptial agreement. “Post” means “after.”
The prenup itself can be used for various purposes. Most commonly, a Grand Rapids prenup lawyer will be directed to use the document to outline how property would be divided should the marriage dissolve. Spousal support is also a common topic covered in a prenuptial agreement. Special provisions can also be laid out regarding what the spouses will receive based on certain factors, such as number of years married or infidelity on one spouse’s part. On the other hand, child custody issues will pretty much never be governed by a prenuptial agreement, and a Grand Rapids prenup lawyer will direct you not to include these types of provisions in your document.