A premarital agreement, also called a prenuptial agreement, is an agreement between prospective spouses regarding the disposition of the couple’s assets in the event that the marriage ends. A premarital agreement applies not only upon divorce, but also upon the death of one of the spouses.
Prospective spouses may enter into a premarital agreement for any number of reasons, most of which are valid. Rhode Island law provides for certain default rules to be applied in the event of death or divorce, and these rules may not work for all couples. Thus, couples can clarify their intent to have a different set of rules apply in their marriage by creating a premarital agreement. Most often, Rhode Island prenuptial agreements are designed to provide the parties financial clarity.
The Enforceability of Prenuptial Agreements
As a general rule, validly created Rhode Island premarital agreements are considered binding against the parties. In Rhode Island, courts look to the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act when determining whether an agreement is valid. Notably, Rhode Island courts place a heavy burden on the party seeking to invalidate the agreement.
Under the Rhode Island Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, a spouse claiming a premarital agreement is invalid must show that the agreement was not executed voluntarily and that the agreement was unconscionable at the time it was made. This is notable because many other states that use the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act allow for a premarital agreement to be declared invalid if it was entered into involuntarily or if it was unconscionable at formation.
In addition, the party seeking to set aside a Rhode Island premarital agreement must show that, before the agreement was entered into:
- they were not provided a fair or reasonable disclosure of the other party’s assets and financial obligations;
- they did not waive the right to such disclosure; and
- did not have actual or constructive knowledge of the other party’s assets or financial obligations
To be sure, it is not a simple task to establish that a Rhode Island premarital agreement is invalid. However, it is also important to note that prenuptial agreements cannot cover certain topics, such as an agreement to have or not to have children. Similarly, premarital agreements cannot include terms regarding the custody of children or the payment of child support.
Are You Considering a Rhode Island Premarital Agreement?
If you are about to be married and are considering a Rhode Island premarital agreement, or if you are in the process of divorce and are concerned about the enforcement of a prenuptial agreement, contact the dedicated Rhode Island family law attorneys at the law firm of Bilodeau Capalbo. At Bilodeau Capalbo, we represent clients who are dealing with all types of family law issues including the drafting and enforcement of Rhode Island prenuptial agreements. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today, call 401-300-4055.
See Related Posts:
What Is an Easement in Rhode Island Real Estate Law?, Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer Blog, February 13, 2019.
Can a Rhode Island Marriage Be Annulled or Declared Void?, Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer Blog, March 4, 2019.