Requirements for a Valid Prenuptial Agreement in Ohio

A prenuptial agreement or prenup is a legally binding contract that both future spouses sign before getting married. This type of document usually addresses separate property, debt repayment, and other assets that both parties want to be protected if they ever get a divorce. A prenuptial agreement can simplify the marriage dissolution process.

This type of legal solution is effective for all couples, not just those who have a large personal estate before entering a marriage. Creating a prenuptial agreement can give you peace of mind about your married life. Ohio adheres to the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) when it comes to prenup drafting and execution.

What Can We Include in a Prenuptial Agreement?

In Ohio, common prenuptial agreement provisions include:

  • Property division if spouses separate or divorce
  • Financial account organization
  • Whether spouses may share separate assets, and if so, under which circumstances
  • Repayment of individual debts
  • Pet custody in the event of a divorce
  • Protections for any child from a previous marriage

Anything about child custody and child support, including upbringing decisions, religious practices, or parenting schedule, cannot be part of your prenuptial agreement. These matters are left up to the judge’s decision during divorce proceedings.

Although alimony can be a grey area, attorneys often recommend leaving this topic out of your prenuptial agreement.

What Makes a Prenup Enforceable in Ohio?

Under the UPAA, Ohio considers a prenuptial agreement valid if:

  • It is in written form
  • Its terms do not encourage divorce
  • Both parties fully disclose their finances, debts, property, and other assets
  • Neither party enters the agreement under duress, fraud, or coercion
  • Both parties sign the contract in front of two witnesses before the date of the wedding

You can take additional precautions to ensure that a judge upholds your prenuptial agreement during divorce proceedings. Having each spouse ask their individual attorney to review the agreement is one option. So is finalizing and signing your prenup several weeks before the wedding. You should also consider getting your marital contract notarized and possibly having the notary as one of your witnesses.

If you and your spouse file for divorce, a judge will evaluate the terms of your prenuptial agreement but whether they choose to enforce it depends on each couple’s circumstances. If a judge considers that your marital agreement causes severe prejudice to one party, they may reject the contract.

Does Ohio Require Us to Hire an Attorney for a Prenup?

The state of Ohio does not legally require that you work with an attorney to create your prenuptial agreement. However, doing so can ensure that your marital contract protects your rights and your assets, and meets all the validity requirements. A prenuptial agreement attorney can identify any problematic provisions or unclear language.

Consulting a family law attorney can help determine an appropriate structure to organize yours. Your lawyer always evaluates your needs and goals to tailor recommendations to your situation. Their keen understanding of family law helps them draft and/or review your agreement before you decide to sign it. They can also work with you again if you and your spouse decide to modify your agreement once married.

Are you considering a prenuptial agreement in Green County? Contact Crossman & McNamee, LLC, today at (937) 468-3796 to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys!