Montana Prenuptial Agreement: What You Should Know
Previously, marriage contracts were a preserve of a few wealthy people who wanted to secure heritage for their heirs. Royal couples, for instance, used marriage contracts to preserve the coveted fortunes of their dynasties.
Today, prenuptial agreements are a must-have for couples entering a marriage, alongside some valuable assets. Essentially, they use prenuptial agreements to determine how they will share various assets in case of death or divorce. Others may also use marriage contracts to safeguard assets from a previous marriage.
In both cases, making a prior agreement about wealth distribution offers peace of mind if the marriage becomes invalid. Read on for more about a prenuptial agreement in Montana.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
It is a contract between prospective spouses outlining their legal rights on property and finances during and after the marriage. Although future couples can draft a prenuptial agreement before marriage, it becomes effective when they officially enter a civil union.
In Montana, the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act defines the contract as an agreement between potential spouses who plan to get married and which will be effective upon marriage. Once approved, couples can only amend or revoke the agreement by signing a written agreement.
The agreement highlights three main aspects:
- The property rights if either spouse dies
- The property rights during a divorce
- Right to support either spouse during a divorce
Should You Enter a Montana Prenuptial Agreement?
Yes. A prenuptial agreement comes in handy to prevent financial and legal conflicts. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you won’t lose your assets. Without a Montana prenuptial agreement, the state divorce laws will take precedence for dividing your property, which may require more time and money to resolve.
If you had property before marriage, a Montana prenup could help you specify what property is separate from the union. You will retain all individual property at the time of dissolution, courtesy of a prenup.
If you separate for some time, you may wish to obtain financial support from your spouse for the period. Therefore, a prenup agreement can also include your preferences regarding spousal support. You can determine whether to continue receiving support from your spouse or forfeit it altogether.
What Does a Prenup Agreement Cover?
A prenuptial agreement covers all matters relating to assets and finances in marriage. However, child support and custody may not form part of the Montana prenuptial agreement. So, if you include preferences regarding child custody or support, the court is not bound to follow your agreement.
A Montana prenup covers the following:
- Rights and obligations towards a separate and marital property
- Property division in case of death or divorce
- Spousal support in case of separation
- Payment of debts incurred before or during a marriage
- How to distribute life insurance benefits as a result of death
How Can You Make a Montana Prenuptial Agreement Enforceable?
Like other states, Montana follows the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which determines how to enforce the agreement. Sections 40-2-601 to 40-2-610 of Montana's revised code confirm that prenups are legally binding in the state.
First, section 40-2-604 requires prospective couples to draft a written prenuptial agreement before entering a marriage. Once signed, the agreement becomes enforceable as per section 40-2-607.
The agreement should also be voluntary by either couple. Nobody should compel you to sign the agreement. For this reason, the state allows you to hire a lawyer who will help you understand your legal rights before you sign the agreement.
The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act also requires you to disclose all your assets, debts, and property to your spouse before the agreement. If you don't declare everything forthright, you should include a waiver of your disclosure in the premarital agreement.
The court may render your agreement invalid if:
- You fail to disclose all your property and debts without a waiver on the agreement
- The agreement unfairly favors either spouse
- Either spouse did not have sufficient time to review the agreement
- Either party signed the agreement under pressure
Check out and download our free Montana Prenuptial agreement form to help you in your prenup agreement.