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A prenuptial agreement in Washington is a contract a couple enters into prior to their wedding. Having a prenuptial agreement does not mean that you and your future spouse anticipate a divorce. Instead, it allows each party to take an honest look at their individual financial situation and decide what will happen to their finances in the case of divorce. Our Spokane family law attorneys are here to explain this process.
To create a valid prenuptial agreement in Washington, there are several guidelines that must be followed:
An attorney is not required by law for this process, and the document does not need to be filed with the court unless you dissolve your marriage. However, its enforceability may come into question if neither party or only one party had an attorney advise them.
Whether a prenuptial agreement is enforceable in Washington or not is decided on a case-by-case basis. Unlike many states, Washington courts disfavor prenups, and a statute governing their enforceability has not been established. To be enforceable, they must meet the following standards the court applies to other contracts:
Its validity will rely heavily on transparency, clarity, and fairness. For example, if it is discovered that there are hidden assets, other fraudulent conduct, or a breach of one or more provisions in the agreement, the prenup likely will not be enforceable.
Prenuptial agreements in Washington commonly address some or all of the following issues, but this is not an exhaustive list:
A prenuptial agreement cannot decide or completely eliminate child support amounts, child custody, or child access issues. While it may speak to such arrangements and the desires of each party, they are always modifiable based upon what is in the children’s best interests and the applicable financial guidelines. However, if the parties divorce and no one challenges the prenuptial agreement, these provisions can be self-enforced.