When most people hear the term “prenuptial agreement,” their first thought is divorce. While a prenuptial agreement does offer an array of protections for a divorcing couple, it also provides a foundation for financial management during a marriage.
Disagreements over money can put a great deal of stress on a marriage. A well-crafted prenuptial agreement can alleviate this strain.
At Twyford Law Office, our family law attorneys are:
Skilled in negotiating and drafting prenuptial agreements;
Knowledgeable in all areas of Washington prenuptial agreement law; and
Devoted to protecting your present and future legal rights.
Head off financial problems before you get married. Call Twyford Law Office for professional guidance preparing a prenuptial agreement today.
How Our Seattle Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys Can Help
Prenuptial agreements are no longer for the rich and famous. These pre-marriage contracts now help regular people maintain their property and possessions in case of a divorce. They can also determine the following:
Whether a partner will receive alimony;
Which partner will keep the marital residence;
Which partner will be responsible for certain debts or bills.
Although a couple can draft their own prenuptial agreement, it is not a good idea. These contracts can be very complicated. This is especially true when one or both partners own a significant amount of property or maintain investment accounts or business ventures.
Using a Seattle family lawyer from Twyford Law Office to draft the prenuptial agreement allows couples to provide for a wide variety of circumstances. One of our attorneys can ensure:
The prenuptial agreement is valid and enforceable;
The prenuptial agreement meets the criteria for a legal contract;
Both parties disclose all of their assets and debts;
Each person understands and agrees with the contract before signing it; and
The terms are such that both parties can comply with the prenuptial agreement throughout the marriage.
Washington Court Disfavor Prenuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement is a form of a marriage contract used to safeguard the rights of individuals before, during, and after marriage. The protections in a prenuptial agreement can cover property, assets, and contact with children in the relationship.
Washington has no laws allowing people to affirmatively alter their marital rights and duties through a contract. However, the courts have a series of cases they use to analyze prenuptial agreements in Washington State.
Overall, the Washington courts disfavor prenuptial agreements and often refuse to enforce them. The court cites the following reasons for this:
Prenuptial agreements are often entered into hastily;
The financially disadvantaged spouse does not understand what they are signing; and
The financially disadvantaged spouse only signs the prenuptial agreement because they are forced to do so.
Two-Prong Test for Evaluating Prenups
Courts in Washington have a two-prong test for evaluating prenuptial agreements. First, the court looks at whether the prenuptial agreement is “fair” or “what a court would do had no prenuptial agreement been executed.” Second, the court determines whether the prenuptial agreement was entered into “knowingly and voluntarily.”
So long as both spouses “knowingly and voluntarily” entered the prenuptial agreement, the court will usually uphold that prenuptial agreement. “Knowingly and voluntarily” means the following:
Each party must have their own attorney;
The parties must conduct (and document) active negotiations to show that the agreement is truly bargained for and not simply forced onto a powerless spouse;
Both parties must offer full disclosure of all assets and income; and
The parties must execute the prenuptial agreement well before the marriage to ensure that neither party feels pressured to sign out of fear that the impending marriage will be canceled.
Contact a Seattle Prenuptial Agreement Attorney
Creating a prenuptial agreement can be challenging. If you are going to put your time and effort into creating a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse, make sure your prenuptial agreement is valid and enforceable under Washington state law.
Contact Twyford Law Office today for advice and guidance regarding the impact any prenuptial provisions will have on your present and future. Do not leave the viability of your prenuptial agreement to chance. Meet with a legal professional from Twyford Law Office.