Ohio Prenuptial Agreements

Ohio prenuptial agreements or prenupsPrenuptial agreements, commonly referred to as “Pre-nups”, are permitted by Ohio law.  The law outlines them in a fairly simple manner—it labels them contracts between husband and wife.  A marriage is, in basic terms, a contract in law from the time that it is entered into by the couple.  Should a disagreement between the parties ever arise subsequent to marriage, the contract will state what the agreement is and possibly what to do in the event of a dispute. Then, presumably whatever it says should be adhered to as long as it is a legally enforceable agreement.

The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to protect pre-marital assets in the event of a separation of the parties.  If there is no such agreement in the event of a divorce or dissolution, then the default for dividing marital assets is Ohio family law.  State divorce law, as most know, basically divides all marital assets in half between the parties.

Pre-nups can be a good thing in some circumstances including, but not limited to:

1)     If extensive pre-marital assets are owned by the parties

2)    One party has much more pre-marital assets than the other

3)    One party or both is expecting a substantial inheritance after marriage

4)    Second marriages

5)    One party has a large income and the other does not

Many inquiries about prenuptial agreements relate to custody of children.  Custody agreements, contained in pre-nups or other agreements are not enforced by courts and are not legal at their inception.  Custody is always determined by the “Best interest of the children” test.

These agreements have to be signed by both of the parties before the marriage takes place.  If there is a signature missing, there is not a valid contract, and courts typically will not enforce the agreement.  It is a good idea to get the terms of the agreement in order well before the wedding arrives.  For instance:  Both parties signing the agreement six months before the wedding is much better than signing the day of the wedding.

Actions between the married couple such as combining credit card accounts and adding a spouse’s name to a property deed can change the effect of the outcome.  If those issues arise, many times the later action by the parties of adding their spouse’s name to an account or property can void part or all of a prenuptial agreement, depending on the terms of the agreement.

The general public consensus is that prenuptial agreements are only for celebrities.  This is not true.  They can be very beneficial to ordinary people in many circumstances.  Bringing them up in conversation to your partner may be difficult because they may view your inquiry as distrust in the relationship.

Experienced family law attorneys at Slater & Zurz LLP know the law, and they will listen to you and answer your questions, helping you all the way through the process.  Please give us a call at  1-800-297-9191 or send us a Blog Message and make an appointment to meet with an attorney who understands.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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