Prenuptial contracts are widely misunderstood in Oklahoma City, OK and throughout the nation, but the reality is that these contracts can be much more valuable than many people realize for several reasons. A prenuptial contract can provide financial security and peace of mind to a marrying couple, helping them to address difficult financial issues early in their marriage instead of waiting for several years to address them when they become more pressing and stressful.
Creating a prenuptial contract is easier than you might expect when you work with an experienced Oklahoma City, OK family law attorney. While you might assume that a prenuptial contract would not be suitable for your situation, an attorney can closely review your circumstances and help you understand the potential value a prenuptial contract could provide to your impending marriage.
Legal Requirements for a Tulsa, OK Prenuptial Contract
Many states in the US have adopted the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act (UPAA), a law that sets forth specific rules for prenuptial contracts and requirements for creating them. The UPAA can act as a means of evaluating the enforceability of a prenuptial agreement. However, Oklahoma has not adopted the UPAA, so determining enforceability typically comes down to a judge’s interpretation of case law and state statutes.
In Oklahoma, a prenuptial contract is generally considered enforceable so long as it meets a few basic requirements:
- The agreement must be reasonably fair and conscionable, meaning it cannot favor one spouse more than the other. The signing parties must hold relatively equivalent education and sophistication, and both must be legally able to sign a binding contract.
- Both spouses must enter the prenuptial agreement voluntarily. Any duress or coercion against either spouse would render the prenuptial contract unenforceable. Additionally, if one spouse hides or obfuscates materially important information from the other, then this would qualify as signing involuntarily since they did not have complete information when signing.
- Both spouses must provide complete and accurate financial disclosure. This means providing clear records of all owed property, assets, debts, and other liabilities. Attempting to hide assets can have serious repercussions beyond damaging the marriage, and the party responsible may even face criminal penalties.
- The spouses must both have a generally accurate picture of one another’s finances. The financial disclosure process may be complex and tedious, but it is necessary to ensure a legally enforceable prenuptial contract.
- The prenuptial agreement may not include any terms that seem to promote or incentivize divorce.
As long as a prenuptial agreement meets these basic requirements, it is likely for an Oklahoma City, OK family court judge to consider the contract enforceable and legally binding.
Important Things to Remember for Creating a Prenuptial Agreement
If you decide to create a prenuptial contract with your spouse-to-be, you will require the services of an experienced Oklahoma City, OK family law attorney. Your legal counsel will help you and your spouse create a comprehensive prenuptial contract that includes clear terms and provisions that suit your unique needs and lifestyle. In the event you and your spouse later decide to divorce, your prenuptial agreement will essentially act as a blueprint for the process, streamlining your divorce proceedings significantly and providing both of you with valuable financial protection.
Every marriage is unique, but there are a few common issues that everyone creating a prenuptial agreement must address:
- The prenuptial agreement must include clear accountings of both spouses’ separate property. Your separate property will remain your own property in divorce so long as it has not transmuted to marital property per Oklahoma state law.
- The agreement must also include each spouse’s rights to marital property. Should the couple decide to divorce, these terms will outline the marital property both spouses will receive.
- The prenuptial agreement should also include terms for ownership and management of a family business controlled by one spouse upon their divorce or the couple’s divorce.
- The agreement must also include terms for each spouse’s rights to use, sell, transfer, or otherwise control marital property.
- The spouses must include accountings of gifts and inheritance they have each received as well as rules concerning ownership of gifts and inheritance received in the future.
- The prenuptial agreement must include alimony provisions, including whether either spouse would be entitled to receive alimony should the couple divorce. This section should also include terms pertaining to the amount of alimony payments and how long these payments must continue.
- The couple must negotiate death benefits from one another’s life insurance policies.
Ultimately, every marriage will involve unique issues, and every couple will have different concerns and goals as they begin the process of creating their prenuptial agreements. Your Oklahoma City, OK family law attorney can provide specific guidance pertaining to your situation to help you and your spouse craft the most comprehensive and detailed prenuptial agreement possible.
What Makes a Prenuptial Agreement Invalid?
As long as your prenuptial agreement satisfies the requirements for enforceability set forth by Oklahoma state law, you can expect the agreement to hold up in divorce proceedings should you decide to end your marriage in the future. However, your prenuptial agreement may be enforceable upon signing it and for the first few years of your marriage, but unexpected life events have the potential of rendering your prenuptial agreement unenforceable.
It’s a good idea to revisit your prenuptial contract every few years to ensure it still applies accurately to your situation. If you have had children, experienced significant financial changes, or acquired any type of new property in the interim since creating your prenuptial agreement, call our firm. You and your spouse may need to consult your Oklahoma City, OK family law attorney to have your prenuptial agreement revised. Otherwise, you could need to refer to it later only to discover that life events in recent years have rendered it unenforceable.
It is also possible for a prenuptial agreement to be invalid if either spouse discovers information that should have been presented during the creation of the prenup. For example, if one spouse hid assets from the other, provided false information at the signing of the prenuptial agreement, or engaged in any deceptive, fraudulent, or illegally coercive measures during the creation of the agreement, the contract would be invalid and unenforceable. The best thing you can do if you want to be certain that your prenuptial agreement carries the legal weight you expect from it is to hire an experienced Oklahoma City, OK family law attorney to help you create yours.