When a couple seeks to marry, they may determine that entering an agreement that addresses specifics of what will happen in the event the marriage ends is in their best interests. A prenuptial agreement, also referred to as a premarital agreement in Indiana, is an executed written agreement outlining these terms, and becomes effective upon the couple’s marriage.

By entering a premarital agreement, couples can disclose their respective financial conditions to one another prior to marriage, and have the power to determine and control the division of property and debts that makes the best sense for them. In this way, they may avoid the division and distribution of assets and debts by a court under legal separation, divorce, or intestacy laws.

Premarital agreements can be crafted to reflect the wishes of the couple. In addition to determining the disposition of property, a premarital agreement may address such issues as: rights and obligations to property acquired before or during the marriage, rights to buy, sell, or control property; spousal maintenance; and the choice of law governing the construction of the agreement. Indiana law also provides that other matters may be addressed within the confines of a premarital agreement, as long as it does not violate public policy or other statutory constraints.

Selecting the appropriate terms, as well as preparing and executing the final written documents, can take a considerable amount of planning and time. Each member of the couple seeking to enter a premarital agreement should consider seeking independent advice from an experienced attorney, well in advance of the wedding day. An attorney practiced in drafting, negotiating, and reviewing premarital agreements can explain Indiana marriage, divorce, and estate law as it applies to the upcoming nuptials. In this way, a person preparing to marry can determine whether to enter a premarital agreement, and if so, what provisions to consider and include.