Pre-nuptial and Post-nuptial Agreements

Traverse City, Michigan Family Lawyer Jeanne Hannah

Jeanne Hannah is experienced in drafting complete and complex prenuptial, postnuptial, and cohabitation agreements. These agreements are recognized in Michigan and public policy allows the enforcement of them. An agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. An agreement may address issues related to both death of one of the parties or divorce. The divorce provisions may address property division, debts and spousal support. Custody and child support issues may not be determined in a prenuptial agreement. The parties may also provide in the agreement how they will handle their finances during the marriage or cohabitation relationship. 

Agreements between spouses or cohabiting adults are not simply for the "rich and famous." There are many reasons why people would enter into such agreements. Frequently, both parties entering into their second marriages will want a prenuptial agreement, particularly if one or both parties have children from a prior marriage. These people may want to protect their children's financial interests in the event of their death. Furthermore, one or both the parties may be bringing separate property into the marriage that they also want to protect.

Prenuptial and cohabitation agreements are also a good idea when there is a large disparity in the ages and/or financial status of the parties. The person with few assets will want to ensure that after the marriage or end of a cohabitation relationship, he or she is not left with nothing. Likewise, the person with substantial assets may want to protect those assets to the extent possible.

Each party to the prenuptial agreement must be represented by counsel. The agreement will be enforceable in Michigan if    

the parties entered into the agreement freely, without fraud, duress or mistake, or misrepresentation or nondisclosure of material fact;

the agreement was not unconscionable when executed;

there arenít facts and circumstances that have changed since the agreement was executed that would make its enforcement unfair and unreasonable.

It is important that these agreements establish that the parties had full knowledge and understanding of the nature, value and extent of the other partyís property. Itís also important that each party understand that the fairness issue isnít an easy avenue to future invalidation of these agreements. This is perhaps one of the most complicated issues involved, and thus itís wise to consult with an attorney when entering into such an agreement. In fact, to avoid a potential for invalidation, itís important to establish that both parties to a premarital agreement have had a meaningful opportunity to consult counsel.

Itís not a good idea to leave the issue of premarital agreements or cohabitation agreements to the last minute. Nothing will impact more harshly upon the beginning of a relationship than actions making it seem as though money is more important than live. The terms of a prenuptial agreement should be negotiated so that it is fair to both parties and will likely withstand subsequent scrutiny in the courts. This requires skilled and highly experienced counsel. 

You will find detailed information on the negotiation and enforceability of prenups and postnups on Jeanne M. Hannah's Blog Updates in Michigan Family Law. Archives to those articles may be found here.

To schedule an initial meeting with family lawyer Jeanne Hannah or just ask a question, call or send an e-mail today. You will find fact-gathering questionnaires on this website. Fill them out and mail them in to Ms. Hannah's office or schedule an appointment and bring them with you.

Contact Traverse City, Michigan divorce lawyer, Jeanne Hannah at 231-275-5600  E-mail family law lawyer Jeanne Hannah.

Family lawyer Jeanne Hannah serves clients throughout Michigan, including Traverse City, Kalkaska, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Beulah, Cadillac, Bellaire, Grand Traverse County, Kalkaska County, Emmet County, Benzie County, Antrim County, and Charlevoix County. © 2005 Jeanne M. Hannah

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Jeanne M. Hannah, Family Lawyer
Postal address:5922 Deer Trail Drive, Traverse City, Michigan 49684 ē E-mail: jeannemhannah [at]

Practice Areas: Divorce  Custody  Parenting Time  Child Support Post-Judgment Modifications  Paternity  Adoption  Personal Protection Orders  Spousal Support  Property Distribution  Pre-Nuptial / Post-Nuptial Agreements Estate Planning Guardianships/Conservatorships  Neglect/Abuse Cases 

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Send mail to jeannemhannah [at] with questions or comments about this web site.

Copyright © 2005 Jeanne M. Hannah. All rights reserved. Last updated November 2009

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