A Word on Prenuptial Agreements – Words from a Downriver Divorce Attorney

Advice on Prenuptial or Antenuptial Agreements from Downriver, Detroit & Michigan Divorce Attorney, Bo Schimers

Worried about the consequence for your impending marriage?  Michigan recognizes prenuptial agreements technically called antenuptial agreements.  Couples frequently want to enter into such an agreement to determine the distribution of assets if they should divorce. Reasons for wanting such an agreement are as varied as the couples themselves.  Typical reasons include: 1) introducing certainty into the relationship; 2) providing for children from a prior marriage; 3) insuring continuity of a family business; 4) save the cost and acrimony of litigation.

Legal Requirements for Prenuptial Agreement in Michigan

Legal requirements include: an antenuptial agreement “may be voided (1) when obtained through fraud, duress, mistake, or misrepresentation or nondisclosure of material fact, (2) if it was unconscionable when executed, or (3) when the facts and circumstances are so changed since the agreement was executed that its enforcement would be unfair and unreasonable.  To determine changed circumstances, “the first step . . . is to focus on whether the changed circumstances were foreseeable when the agreement was made.”

Family Law Risks – The Marital Estate and Prenuptial Agreements

This demonstrates the need to be thorough when drafting the agreement so that it can survive any potential attack.  Therefore a competent attorney is a must.  Most attorneys will base their fee on the amount of assets.  Risk steadily increases for estates in excess of $250,000.  I look forward to assisting you with this important step in your future.



Under state laws, each spouse receives automatic property rights unless a legally enforceable agreement states otherwise. For example, spouses share ownership of some property acquired during the marriage and both have the right to manage and control the property. If one spouse dies or the parties divorce, state law dictates the disposition of the property. If the parties wish to divide the property differently, it is necessary to create a prenup. Here are some common reasons for making a prenup:

  • Keep Finances Separate: Some kinds of property acquired during marriage automatically become part of the community or marital estate. A prenuptial agreement can define whether an asset is the separate property of one spouse or whether the asset is part of the marital estate.
  • Provide for Children from Prior Relationships: A prenuptial agreement can ensure that the children from previous relationships inherit certain property from a deceased parent.
  • Establishing the Property Rights in the Event of a Divorce: In divorce, state law will determine how to divide certain property acquired during marriage if a prenuptial agreement does not exist.
  • Defining Financial Responsibilities During Marriage: A couple can use a prenuptial agreement as a foundation to make financial decisions. Some examples include; 1) whether to open joint accounts or 2) whether an estate plan will include a surviving spouse as a beneficiary.