West Des Moines Attorneys Draft Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Skilled negotiation protects your property rights
Over the last 20 years, prenuptial agreements have become ever more popular, especially for high net worth couples. In fact, more and more married couples are signing postnuptial agreements for the additional security they bring. Whether you are thinking about forming an agreement prior to your wedding or after, you must make sure you the document is a valid contract and truly reflects your intentions. The Hope Law Firm, P.L.C. helps couples at all stages of their relationship negotiate and execute valid marital agreements, and represents spouses in disputes over these contracts.
Prenuptials versus postnuptials in Iowa
Couples enter prenuptial agreements before they get married. At that time, their greatest concern is to declare their separate property so that they can retain it in the event of a divorce. Couples entering a second marriage may be concerned about ensuring an inheritance for their children from a first marriage. After a couple has been married for a time, other concerns may arise. Perhaps they had expected to have parallel career tracks, but one has flourished, the other has languished, and there is now a greater disparity of income than they had anticipated. If the primary earner starts thinking about how much could be lost in a divorce 10 years in the future, that could create pressure to divorce sooner rather than later. A postnuptial agreement could relieve that pressure and actually strengthen the marriage.
Spouses can contract about any issue of their marriage accept child support, which is a right belonging to the child. But, to ensure their agreement is valid, each spouse should have independent legal counsel and they should negotiate the agreement well in advance of the signing.
Marital agreement litigation during divorce in Iowa
Marital agreements often facilitate uncontested divorces, but conflicts can arise during divorce when the effect of the marital agreement on property division becomes real. A disappointed spouse who feels wrongly deprived by the agreement must convince the court that the contract is, at least in part, invalid. The court may find a marital agreement invalid if at the time the document was created and signed, there was:
- Fraud — If one spouse led the other to believe that the document meant something other than what it says, it may be invalid. The court may accept an assertion of fraud in marriages where there is a disparity in financial sophistication or where there is a language barrier that put one spouse at a disadvantage.
- Misrepresentation — If a spouse withheld material information regarding finances, so the other spouse did not realize what rights he or she was waiving by signing the document, the court could invalidate it.
- Coercion or duress — One spouse physically forced the other to sign or manipulated circumstances to create emotional pressure compelling the other to sign. If the document is signed very close to the wedding date, the court may infer that a threat to call off the wedding created duress.
- Imbalance of bargaining power — If an agreement is a lopsided because one spouse held all the power at the time it was drafted, the court could declare the contract unconscionable and therefore void.
- A serious flaw in construction or execution — Both parties must sign the marital agreement. The language must be clear and unambiguous. Vague documents are unenforceable.
The Hope Law Firm provides quality litigation services to couples seeking to enforce or invalidate marital agreements during divorce.
Contact our West Des Moines attorneys with your marital agreement questions
A martial agreement can give added peace of mind to your relationship while protecting your property rights. The Hope Law Firm, P.L.C. can help you execute a valid agreement that accomplishes your goals. Call us at 515-255-3559 or contact our West Des Moines office online to schedule an appointment.