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When Is a Rhode Island Prenuptial Agreement Necessary?

When a couple goes through a Rhode Island divorce, there are many issues that must be resolved. For example, the division of the couple’s assets, who will take on the responsibility for the marital debt, which party will get to remain in the marital home, and whether there is the need for spousal support. If the parties have not entered into a valid prenuptial agreement, Rhode Island courts will apply a set of default rules to resolve these issues. However, many couples are not satisfied with the default rules and choose to enter into a Rhode Island prenuptial agreement.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement, also called a premarital agreement, is a contract that is entered into in anticipation of marriage. Under Rhode Island’s Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, a premarital agreement can cover a broad range of issues, including:

  • The rights of the parties to use property;
  • The disposition of property upon separation or divorce;
  • The modification or elimination of spousal support;
  • Ownership of either parties’ life insurance benefits; and
  • The choice of law governing the divorce proceeding.

Importantly, the factors listed in the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act are non-exhaustive, meaning that a party can include terms covering any matter that is not against public policy or in violation of a criminal statute.

Of course, not all premarital agreements will be enforceable. First, agreements that were not voluntarily entered into by both parties will not be enforced. Similarly, agreements that are determined to be unconscionable may not be enforced. An unconscionable agreement is one that unreasonably favors one party to the other party’s detriment.

In some situations, the bulk of a premarital agreement may be enforceable, but certain terms may be modified or removed by a court. For example, if an agreement purports to waive spousal support, but in doing so the spouse that would have received such support will the qualify for public assistance, the court may order that spouse receive support so that they will no longer require public assistance.

When it comes to issues of child support or child custody, courts are not bound to the terms of a marital agreement. This is because matters involving children implicate public policy concerns which, as noted above, cannot be included in a Rhode Island premarital agreement.

Are You About to Get Married?

If you are engaged and going to get married, you should consider contacting the dedicated Rhode Island family law attorneys to discuss drafting a premarital agreement. The dedicated family law attorneys at Bilodeau Capalbo have extensive experience handling Rhode Island divorce cases, and have a keen understanding of the issues that tend to cause problems in a marriage. With our help, you can get out in front of these problematic issues and rest assured that, should your marriage end in separation or divorce, both parties will be adequately protected. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Rhode Island premarital agreement attorney, call 401-300-4055 today.

See Related Posts:

The Importance of Understanding a Rhode Island Auto Insurance Policy, Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer Blog, January 21, 2019.

How Do Courts Divide Assets in a Rhode Island Divorce?, Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer Blog, January 29, 2019.

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