When plans for marriage begin, couples often think of wedding planning, honeymoon destinations, and prospects of a growing family. However, marriage and divorce can have significant financial implications for each partner, and it’s essential to consider these things before tying the knot. While the idea of a prenuptial agreement may seem unromantic, it is—on the contrary—a logical and wise choice.
The idea of having this type of discussion may seem like an uncomfortable challenge. However, this conversation allows for important financial planning for you and your soon-to-be partner that you may not have considered otherwise. If you or your future partner are considering seeking out a prenuptial agreement, you should understand what your state requires of you. This article will explain how this arrangement works in Utah and what conditions are necessary for a valid agreement.
Utah Prenuptial Agreements
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
According to the Utah Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, this legally binding contract is “an agreement between prospective spouses that is made in contemplation of marriage and that is effective on marriage.” A prenuptial agreement, also referred to as a premarital agreement, is an arrangement between two people who negotiate what they believe will happen when they marry, and establishes contingencies that come into effect upon divorce. It must be signed and agreed upon before the parties get married, as prenuptial agreements go into effect the moment those involved are legally married. This plan will determine what will happen to their assets if the couple gets divorced or if a spouse dies. These agreements typically focus on property division. Property can include an estate, business interests, building, accounts, residence, and personal belongings. Both parties must provide complete disclosure of their assets; otherwise, the contract can be considered unenforceable by a judge, unless there is a valid waiver of disclosure. The parties involved can alter or revoke the contract if there is a written and signed agreement by both parties during the marriage.
Utah Requirements of an Enforceable Prenup
The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) outlines the requirements of an enforceable prenuptial agreement. Utah adopted this act into state law in 1994. Because of this, all the UPAA’s conditions must be satisfied to validate a prenup legally. The following statements outline some of the criteria stated in the UPAA.
1. The agreement must be in writing.
The UPAA does not recognize oral agreements. The agreement needs to be written and signed by both parties.
2. It is not necessary for the agreement to be supported by consideration.
Consideration refers to something of value given to each party to represent a show of support for the agreement.
3. The agreement must have been executed “in contemplation of marriage.”
This statement means that those involved have created this agreement intending on an impending and definite marriage.
4. The agreement can control any form of property, provided the provision does not violate public policy or a criminal law.
Property can mean money, life insurance, physical property, estates, accounts, and alimony. As long as the said property does not violate public policy or criminal law that requires a penalty when broken, the agreement can control it.
Unenforceable Prenuptial Agreements
Additionally, there are some situations in which a prenuptial agreement is legally unenforceable. The contract may be void if any of the following statements apply.
1. One of the spouses did not consent to sign the agreement.
Both parties must sign freely and voluntarily. They must both be mentally competent and of the legal age to be married. If either party signs under any form of force or coercion, is later found to have been mentally incompetent at the time of signing, or was underage at the time of signing the agreement, then the agreement is unenforceable.
2. The agreement was fraudulent when it was signed.
An agreement can be found fraudulent for several reasons. For example, if one of the parties involved was dishonest or not forthcoming in disclosing property debt and financial obligations, then the contract is unenforceable. In addition, if one of the spouses did not, in writing, voluntarily waive the right to property and financial disclosure, then the agreement is void. Lastly, a contract is fraudulent if one of the spouses did not or could not know of the other spouse’s financial obligations and property debt.
Plan for Your Future, Today
While the idea of a premarital agreement may seem to lessen romance, it may have the opposite effect. Requiring both parties to disclose all property and financial information may lead to a beneficial conversation regarding financial planning and goals for the future.
If you’re looking to create a prenuptial agreement in Utah, consider seeking legal assistance to help you navigate the process. ProvenLaw is a legal group serving St. George and the surrounding areas of Utah. Our probate, trust administration, and litigation team offer unmatched expertise, professional client service, and peace of mind. We provide services to assist with legal needs such as elder planning, estate planning, and drafting a power of attorney, trust, and wills. If you’re looking for quality assistance in legal planning, contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation to learn how we can assist you.