Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys in Madison & MilwaukeeHelping Couples Draft Wisconsin Prenuptial Agreements that Strengthen Your Relationship and Vision for the Future
A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two individuals who plan to marry and wish to opt out of some or all of the requirements of the Wisconsin marital property law. The prenuptial agreement can define how the parties will divide their property or support of one another in the event of their subsequent divorce or death. By law, once two people marry, all premarital assets are considered marital and subject to division by the family court. Prenuptial agreements can alter that statutory determination and dictate how the court must handle such property.
As examples, parties could elect that all property and its subsequent growth respectively own at the time of marriage be classified as each party’s separate property, which would exempt such property from division by the court at the time of divorce. The parties could exempt all income and assets accumulated both prior to the marriage and during the marriage from division from the divorce court. The parties could require each other to make provisions in estate planning for the distribution of property at death. The parties could define certain property as separate property to avoid costly litigation when separate property is comingled with property subject to division by the family court.
Why Write a Wisconsin Prenuptial Agreement?
A well-written and thoughtful prenuptial agreement can save a lot of stress and reduce litigation costs if there is a divorce because a prenuptial agreement, if valid, is considered controlling at divorce on issues of property division and debt allocation and may provide guidance in the area of maintenance or spousal support. Moreover, it is increasingly common for individuals to use prenuptial agreements as financial planning tools, especially for individuals who marry later in life or for individuals in second and third marriages.
A postnuptial agreement is a contract that has the same purpose as a prenuptial agreement, but it is made between two individuals after they have married.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Requirements
To be valid, both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements must follow certain procedures, including mutual and complete financial disclosure of income, assets and debts. Both parties must consent to the agreement voluntarily and with full knowledge of the agreement’s consequences, so advice from attorneys can be crucial. The division does not need to be equal but the document needs to be fair at the time the parties enter into the agreement and at the time the agreement is enforced.
To discuss pre or post-nuptial agreements further, contact family law attorneys, Katherine L. Charlton, or Amy L. Shapiro in our Milwaukee office at 414-271-8650, Attorney Lynn Lodahl in our Madison office at 608-257-0040, or contact us through our website form to set up a consultation.