Prenuptial Agreement in Ohio

Prenuptial agreements, commonly referred to as “Prenups” are simply contracts between a husband and wife. The purpose of the agreements is to protect marital assets.

Should a disagreement between the parties arise subsequent to the marriage, the “Prenup” will generally state what to do. Presumably whatever it says should be adhered to as long as the agreement is legally enforceable. Thus, a “Prenup” is a contract between the marriage partners that may supersede the default rules and govern the way their divorce will be finalized.

If there is no such agreement in the event of a dissolution or divorce, then the default for dividing marital assets is Ohio family law. State divorce law basically divides all marital assets in half between the parties.

Benefits of Prenups

Many in the general public believe prenuptial agreements are only for the wealthy or for celebrities. This is not true. They can be beneficial to ordinary people in many circumstances. Some of those situations are:

  • If extensive premarital assets are owned by the parties and they wish to retain them as
    separate property
  • If one party has considerably more premarital assets than the other
  • If one party or both is expecting a substantial inheritance after marriage
  • If this is a second marriage
  • If one party has a larger income than the other
  • If it is anticipated there will be future disputes about property division, child custody, child support, or spousal support. However, custody agreements contained in Pre-nups are not enforced in Ohio courts. Custody is determined by the “best interest of the child.” There are also limitations as to what can be enforced contractually regarding child support and spousal support.

Validity of Prenuptials

Prenuptial agreements have to be signed by both parties before the marriage takes place. If there is a signature missing, there is no valid contract and the courts will not enforce it. It is a good idea to get the terms of the agreement in writing well ahead of the wedding—six months ahead of time if possible. You do not want to be signing the Prenup on the day of the wedding. This could cause questions later about one partner’s willingness to sign the contract.

There are other exceptions to the enforceability of the premarital contract, for example, if one party did not enter into it voluntarily or was not provided with full and reasonable disclosure of the property involved or the finances of the other party.

Sometimes these subjects are difficult to talk about with a future spouse as some people do not like to disclose their monetary worth. They need to trust the person they are planning to marry and believe that that person will not discuss very personal matters. This is one area in which the intervention of an
experienced family law attorney can help. Please call Slater & Zurz LLP today at 1-888-534-4850 and ask for an appointment with an attorney who can assist with a prenuptial agreement if that is what you decide you and your partner would like to have prepared.