As a Massachusetts family law attorney who has drafted, reviewed, and negotiated hundreds of prenuptial agreements, I cringe when I see soon-to-be spouses signing away rights with shockingly one-sided and restrictive terms. Prenups with harsh stipulations can lead to problems down the road if the marriage ends in divorce. While prenups are certainly prudent, they should be fair and reasonable to both parties. An extreme prenup sets the stage for conflict, resentment, and protracted legal battles if you split.
Here are some major risks to consider before signing an overly strict prenup in Massachusetts:
1. You lose rights to assets acquired during marriage. Some prenups state that income
earned and assets accumulated during the marriage remain separate property. This
means you may walk away with little if you divorce, even if you contributed significantly
as a spouse and parent. Make sure you retain equitable rights.
2. Alimony is severely limited or barred. Massachusetts provides for various types of
alimony, but a prenup may seek to prohibit all spousal support or impose unrealistic
time limits. It may be unwise to relinquish future rights for alimony.
3. Contested divorce terms are established. Some prenups try to dictate unfavorable
terms for property division, alimony, etc. to discourage contested divorce litigation.
Don't give up your day in court.
4. It's hard to invalidate. Under Massachusetts law, it's difficult to challenge a prenup's
validity later on. The time to negotiate better terms is before you sign, not at divorce.
While prenups can be extremely useful, take a hard look at any one-sided clauses that seem designed to punish or leave you stranded if the marriage fails. Consult an experienced family law attorney to ensure the agreement is fair and enforceable. With a balanced prenup in place, you can enjoy more peace of mind entering marriage. Don't gamble your future rights away!
Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and readers should not act upon any information provided without seeking professional legal counsel. The author does not guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information provided. This blog is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.