Pre-nuptial and Post-Marital Agreements

Gustafson Family Law represents clients in negotiating and drafting  Pre-nuptial and Post Marital Agreements

Pre-nuptial agreements are agreements signed before marriage in which the couple agrees in advance how financial issues will be handled if they later divorce or if one person dies before the other.  These agreements are most often used to protect assets owned prior to marriage, but can also govern the division of assets acquired during the marriage.  Many agreements also address whether or not spousal support (alimony) will be paid to either party at divorce.  In Maine, pre-nuptial agreements must be carefully written to comply with the law.  If you have assets, have children from a prior relationship or want to reach agreements before marriage which differ from how a court applying the law might later make decisions impacting your financial future, it is worth considering a pre-nuptial agreement.

Post-Marital Agreements include both Separation Agreements and Marital Settlement Agreements.  Separation agreements are agreements signed during marriage by couples who are contemplating separation and/or divorce and wish to resolve financial issues or matters related to the care and support of their children for a temporary or interim period of time.  Marital Settlement Agreements are agreements which resolve some or all of the matters that must be addressed when couples divorce.  Unlike pre-nuptial agreements, separation and settlement agreements are not governed by a statute.  To be enforceable, post-marital agreements must be fair and reasonable under the particular circumstances at the time the agreement is signed.  If you are considering divorce or have separated and have reached either temporary or final agreements with your spouse on dividing assets, financial support or children’s issues, you should consider a formal separation or marital settlement agreement.