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Washington Prenuptial Agreement: Everything to Know and Its Enforceability
Nobody enters a marriage with the thought that it will fail someday. For this reason, marriage is one of the hilarious moments for couples who have been engaged for years. But if you have significant assets or valuables, you have to explore your options. What happens to your assets if you divorce or die untimely?
The best option is to create a prenuptial agreement that highlights how you’ll share your marital property. Learn more about making a prenuptial agreement in Washington.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement also called a prenup, or premarital contract, is an agreement that two people enter before marriage. However, it is not merely a contract but a consensus among people who intend to marry. Thus, marriage is the driving force without which the contract remains unenforceable.
A prenuptial agreement enables couples to decide how they’ll divide their assets and property if they divorce, separate, or one of them dies. Once signed, a prenuptial agreement becomes legally enforceable in court.
Who Requires a Prenup in Washington?
A prenup is suitable for all prospective couples wishing to marry. In addition, you may qualify for a prenuptial agreement owing to the following:
- Your spouse is entering a marriage with significant debt
- You have valuable property before joining a marriage
- You are wealthier or have more assets than your spouse
- You have been married before and have children from your first marriage
How Does Prenuptial Agreement Work in Washington?
The Washington revised code enshrines a set of guidelines to follow when making and enforcing prenuptial laws.
Like in other states, a prenup in Washington should be a written draft and signed by both parties. So, if you intend to make a prenup, avoid legal or oral agreements and have a notary witness the signing process.
In Washington, making a prenup also requires the input of qualified attorneys for legal representation. Attorneys will help you understand the contract's content and explain the legal implications to you. You should have your attorneys' signatures and confirmation that they helped you understand the agreement.
Unlike other states, a Washington prenup must constitute a list of the spouse’s liabilities, assets, and income.
Washington Prenuptial Agreement: Determining Enforceability
The Washington courts follow strict guidelines when determining the validity of a prenuptial contract. In determining validity, the judge will adopt a two-step approach for evaluating the agreement.
First, the court will determine if the agreement was fair and reasonable to both parties. Fairness means what the court would have done without a prenup. If the court analysis determines the deal was fair, the court can uphold and execute the contract.
Then the court will evaluate if both spouses entered the agreement voluntarily. Here, the emphasis is on whether the spouses understood their legal rights and none was under pressure to sign the contract
Besides voluntary and willful signing, spouses should ensure full disclosure of their property's nature and amount. If the agreement fails the two-step test, then it is considered unenforceable.
Can You Change or Revoke a Prenuptial Agreement?
Yes. The Washington revised code allows parties to alter or revoke a prenup once signed. If you wish to modify your agreement, there should be mutual consent. Afterward, you can write your modifications and sign the contract.
Similarly, if you wish to terminate your contract, you will create an offer to terminate the agreement and wait for your spouse's acceptance of the offer. To remain enforceable, a request to terminate the contract should also be in writing
Are you looking forward to making a prenup? Here’s a free printable prenuptial agreement form for Washington.