What You Need to Know About Prenuptial Agreements in Ohio

prenuptial agreement

When a couple decides to get married, divorce is often the last thing on their minds. But in some situations, it is wise to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. When it comes to marriage, this can mean considering the potential benefits of a prenuptial agreement.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract that defines the rights and obligations of each spouse in the event of a divorce or dissolution of marriage. A prenuptial agreement can be used to address issues of spousal support, how expenses will be handled during the marriage, and division of property and debts in the event of death or divorce.

Also known as antenuptial agreements, prenuptial agreements are generally permitted in Ohio provided they meet certain conditions. To be valid, an Ohio prenuptial agreement must:

  • Not include terms that encourage divorce
  • Be entered into without threats of fraud, coercion, or duress
  • Come after a full disclosure of the nature and value of each spouse’s property

To ensure that your prenuptial agreement is valid, you should work out your agreement with your soon-to-be spouse and his or her lawyer well in advance of the marriage date.

If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, the divorce and family law attorneys as RKPT can help. Our lawyers will analyze your situation, offer advice, and create a customized agreement that will protect your rights before you get married.

Who Should Consider a Prenuptial Agreement?

People who bring significant assets to a marriage should strongly consider a prenuptial agreement. Likewise, people who have been divorced before, have children from a prior relationship, who marry later in life, own a business, or who want to maintain control of the money they have worked hard to earn can all benefit from a prenuptial agreement.

Entering into a prenuptial agreement can help create financial certainty and avoid leaving things up to state law in the event of divorce or the death of one spouse.

How a Prenuptial Agreement Works in Ohio

In a divorce, Ohio law classifies property as either separate property or marital property. Marital property is divided between the spouses, while separate property (which includes passive income from and appreciation on that property) remains with the spouse that brought it to the marriage.

In Ohio, marital property will be divided equally unless the court determines that an equal division will be inequitable, taking into account the following factors:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Assets and liabilities of the spouses
  • The desirability of awarding the family home to the spouse with custody of the children
  • Liquidity of the property being divided
  • The economic desirability of leaving an asset intact
  • Tax consequences of the divorce on each spouse
  • Cost of selling the property
  • Retirement benefits
  • Any other factor the judge considers relevant

When a couple enters into a prenuptial agreement, they can determine for themselves how the property covered by the agreement will be allocated in the event of divorce or the death of a spouse and to a large extent avoid the uncertainty of having that property allocated based on current law or a judge’s ruling.

What Does a Prenuptial Agreement Cover?

A prenuptial agreement can address almost any issue that would arise in a divorce proceeding. These include:

  • Each spouse’s right to property and assets, whether owned individually or as a couple
  • Division of assets in the event of death or divorce
  • Management of a business after death or divorce
  • The right to sell, use, or transfer property during the marriage
  • Each spouse’s right to gifts or inheritances of the other spouse
  • Whether a spouse will pay spousal support and, if so, for how long
  • The right to receive death benefits from the other spouse’s insurance policy
  • Other issues the couple agree to

Ohio courts have refused to recognize prenuptial agreements that address issues of child support or visitation, that children be raised according to a particular religion, or that preserve tort claims against one another.

RKPT Divorce and Family Law: Helping People Navigate Domestic Relations Concerns

If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, the family law attorneys at RKPT can help. We have a deep and thorough understanding of Ohio laws that relate to family law and domestic relations matters. We can use that knowledge and experience to create a prenuptial agreement that will protect your interests and meet your needs.

Our attorneys will take time to listen carefully to your concerns, answer your questions, and explore your options. Then we will craft a customized solution to meet your needs.

To learn more about our divorce and family practice and whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you, we invite you to contact us today.

Categories: Divorce, Litigation