Michigan couples who are considering marriage should know that prenuptial agreements are not only for those who have considerable wealth. Anyone who has assets or expects to inherit assets may use a prenuptial agreement to specify how their property is to be treated if a divorce or death occurs. Prenuptial agreements can be used to directly address alimony, claims on property by a surviving spouse and the fair distribution of assets.
Couples can decide on how their property will be allocated in the event of a divorce. A standard prenuptial agreement may stipulate that each spouse should retain the property he or she brought into the marriage and that the property that was acquired during the relationship should be allocated in a method that is determined beforehand.
A prenuptial agreement also allows a couple to determine the terms of alimony that would be in place if a divorce occurred. This includes the amount of alimony that would be paid or whether there will be alimony paid at all. Alimony decisions that are left up to the court can result in the wealthier spouse being required to pay alimony to the spouse with a lower income.
In the event of a partner's death, there may be ownership of certain assets that a spouse may wish to bequeath to someone other than his or her spouse. The treatment of those assets can be discussed and agreed to beforehand by both spouses and noted in the prenuptial agreement.
When a marriage ends, much of what happens to each spouse' assets may be determined by the court if there is no prenuptial agreement in place. A lawyer may be able to help an individual draft such an agreement before a marriage as well as assist them through the divorce process if the marriage ends.