Most states require you to meet a number of prerequisite in order for a pre-nuptial agreement, also referred to as an “ante-nuptial” agreement, to be valid. In addition, more than half of the states in the USA have enacted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which aims to standardize the handling of premarital agreements from state to state. Although, the state has not enacted the aforementioned legislation, a prenuptial agreement is valid in Oklahoma.
Pre-nuptial agreements deal with how your finances are to be shared during marriage and how assets will be divided after divorce. Oklahoma law statutes express the need for your pre-nuptial agreement to be in writing. Other requirements, such as the need for the agreement to be made “without fraud, duress, coercion or overreaching”, have been established by case law. Oklahoma case rulings have expressed support for prenuptial agreements as a means for couples, which desire financial assurances prior to getting married, to manage their affairs in the manner in which they desire.
Prior to the 1960s most courts saw prenuptial agreements as a threat to the institution of marriage, and were reluctant to uphold them in the event of divorce. The arguments were that prenuptial agreements encouraged couples to get divorce, undermined the sanctity of marriage and reduced it to a mere contractual living arrangement. But this all change after the 1960’s and 70’s, when public morality concerning marriage and divorce changed and the rate of divorce more than doubled. After this, courts began to see the practical aspects of pre-nuptial agreements and their enforcement became more commonplace.
Prenupital Agreements: The Pros and Cons
Prenuptial agreements can benefit you and your spouse by allowing you to:
- Establish clearly defined rights and obligation concerning both your individual and collective finances, including proprietary rights in each other’s businesses and property.
- Address alimony and define how assets are to be divided if and when you divorce.
- Express how the state is to handle your spouse’s estate in the event that he or she dies without a valid will.
On the other hand, pre-nuptial agreements cannot be used to:
- Address child support, child custody or your visitation rights.
- Address personal rather than financial matters, such your duties to the household or the manner in which you will raise your children.
- Expressly provide an incentive for you to divorce.
The benefits of prenuptial agreements are not limited to wealthy couples or to the wealthier spouse. Your financial situation may very well improve during the course of your marriage and a pre-nuptial agreement can help you avoid disputes over how the assets you and your spouse have acquired during marriage will be distributed if you divorce. Furthermore, a pre-nuptial agreement can easily be written to protect the rights of both spouses equitably. In fact, courts will most likely not uphold a pre-nuptial agreement that is lop-sided and unfair to either party.
All things considered, before you draft a prenuptial agreement, you and your intended spouse should thoroughly discuss and define the parameters of the desired agreement. Most importantly, you should discuss if and how it will address the separation of your financial affairs during marriage and the distribution of your assets in the event of your divorce or the deaths. You should then seek separate attorneys to help you draft and review the document in consideration of the procedural and substantive rules that will render your pre-nuptial agreements valid in Oklahoma.
Free Prenuptial Agreement Consultation:
Tulsa Divorce Attorney
If you’re considering entering into a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage, you’ll do well to see the advice of someone who knows what happens when a prenup agreement is part of a divorce proceeding. To find out more about prenuptial agreements, contact the family law attorney in Tulsa at Divorce Law Office of Tulsa: 918-924-5526. We offer free, no obligation consultations. If you prefer you may send your question using the “Ask the Lawyer” form on the right side of this page.