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Massachusetts Prenuptial Agreement Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ )

Thank you for taking the time to visit our website to learn more about prenuptial agreements in Massachusetts. My team has compiled a list of FAQs along with answers to help our guests, prospects and clients better understand MA prenuptial agreements.

We encourage all of our website guests for their own protection to never act on information obtained from any website without first discussing the specifics of your case with a licensed Massachusetts attorney in good standing practicing in the areas of Divorce and Family Law.

Important Note: The general answers we provide in the areas of Family and Divorce Law are for educational purposes and should not be taken as legal advice for any specific situation.

  • What is a Massachusetts prenuptial agreement?
    Answer: In its most basic form, a prenuptial agreement (also known as premarital or ante-nuptial agreement) is a contract between two parties prior to marriage that specifies how property, debt, and assets are to be divided in the event of divorce, death, or separation. Prenuptial agreements can be as simple or as broad as you want it to be depending on your financial situation and whether or not you have children. Back to Top
  • Can the terms of a prenuptial agreement in Massachusetts be changed or modified at a later date?
    Answer: Yes. The terms of a prenuptial agreement that we draft can be changed or modified at a later date as long as both parties (couples) agree to the changes. We will prepare an addendum to the original prenuptial agreement to reflect the new changes. Back to Top
  • Can a prenuptial agreement protect my families assetts in Massachusetts?
    Answer: If you receive an inheritance or gift prior to or during the marriage, the prenuptial agreement can be drafted so that any gift, inheritance, as well as any income from the growth of those assets remain a family asset with the spouse having no claim to it. Back to Top
  • Do I need to hire an attorney or lawyer in Massachusetts to draft a prenuptial agreement?
    Answer: While you are not required to hire an attorney to draft a prenuptial agreement, we advise all of our prospective clients to hire not one but two attorneys to strengthen the agreement so it can with stand a future contested challenge. While there are plenty cookie cutter prenuptial agreement legal documents in books and the internet, it's questionable whether many of these do it yourself prenuptial agreement documents would be validated in a court of law if it were contested. To improve the likelihood that your prenuptial agreement will stand the test of time and be validated if challenged, we recommend that you hire two Massachusetts family law or prenuptial attorneys to draft your prenuptial agreement. Massachusetts's laws do change so its important to hire local attorneys that can draft a prenuptial agreement that is consistent with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Back to Top
  • Who needs a Massachusetts prenuptial agreement?
    Answer: Anyone living in Massachusetts looking to protect their premarital assets, house, retirement plan, anticipate inheritances, children's inheritance, business, etc. should consider a prenuptial agreement. Back to Top
  • Are prenuptial agreements enforceable (accepted, valid) in Massachusetts?
    Answer: In general, prenuptial agreements are enforceable in Massachusetts as long as each party provides full financial disclosure to the other and both parties are represented by an attorney. The provisions in the agreement are consistent with Massachusetts laws, and the agreement is fair at the time of drafting and at the time of divorce. Back to Top
  • What are the consequences of not having a prenuptial agreement in Massachusetts?
    Answer: If you decide to not have a prenuptial agreement, you run the risk of having the state decide how your estate is distributed in a divorce and inheritance if you die. Back to Top
  • Can prenuptial agreements be contested (challenged, invalidated,terminated) in Massachusetts?
    Answer: Yes. As with any agreement, a Prenuptial Agreement can be challenged (contested, invalidated,terminated) in Massachusetts. The court will look at whether there was full financial disclosure at the time of drafting, whether the agreement was fair and reasonable at the time of drafting and whether the agreement is fair and reasonable at the time of divorce. The court may also consider whether both parties were represented by an attorney and the time that elapsed from the signing of the prenup agreement and the date of marriage. Back to Top
  • What types of provisions or items are included in a Massachusetts prenuptial agreement?
    Answer: Prenuptial agreements include all types of financial,property, and personal assets. You can include your home, vacation home, land, cars, motorcycles, boats, your business, your valuable art collection, retirement benefits, stock options, or for that matter anything you want to include so long as its consistent with Massachusetts laws and the agreement is fair. Back to Top
  • What do Boston Massachusetts attorneys and lawyers charge for a prenuptial agreement?
    Answer: The cost will largely depend on how much time your attorney or lawyer takes to draft and negotiate the agreement. For simple estates, the fees could be as little as $750. For more complex cases involving high net worth families or individuals with businesses, the cost could be several thousand dollars especially if we have to work with accountants and business valuation appraisers to obtain a financial accounting of your estate. It is imperative that we provide full financial disclosure to improve the likelihood that our prenuptial agreement will be validated if contested in a court of law. Back to Top
  • Is the prenuptial agreement revocable in Massachusetts if we decide at a later date to terminate or cancel it?
    Answer: Yes. Our Massachusetts Prenuptial Agreements aren't cast in stone so we can work with you and your spouse to modify the agreement or cancel it altogether as long as both of you agree to the changes. Back to Top
  • Does my fiancee need her own lawyer if my attorney drafts the prenuptial agreement in Massachusetts?
    Answer: Yes. Both sides should have independent legal advice from their respective lawyers in order to improve the likelihood that the prenuptial agreement will be enforced and validated. Back to Top
  • Why do I need a Prenuptial Agreement in Massachusetts when I'm not rich nor do I have a lot of money, property or assets?
    Answer: While it is true that many rich successful people in business, entertainment, and professional sports hire attorneys to draft prenuptial agreements, not all do so for the sole purpose of protecting their own wealth. A properly drafted Prenuptial Agreement can provide many other benefits to you and your spouse and family including the safeguard of assets and property brought into the marriage, inheritance, trusts, and the protection of your children's inheritance from prior marriages, to name a few. Back to Top
  • What is the best way for me to protect my money,property, and assets so that I can leave something to my children of a prior marriage in the event of divorce or death?
    Answer: A Massachusetts prenuptial agreement allows spouses to provide some level of protection to children of prior marriages by allowing each spouse to specify what happens to their property in the event of a divorce or death. Without the prenuptial agreement, there are scenarios in which the surviving spouse could gain control of most if not all assets leaving very little for your children of your prior marriage. Back to Top
  • Can alimony or spousal support be waived in Massachusetts under the terms of my ( our ) prenuptial agreement?
    Answer: Yes. However, the Massachusetts courts will ignore your alimony or spousal support waivers in prenuptial agreements if they determine the agreement to be unfair to the spouse when the agreement was first signed or at the time of divorce. Your prenuptial agreement can be totally one sided and even if you get your fiancee to sign away her rights, the Massachusetts courts have the last say as to whether to honor the prenuptial agreement or not.
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  • What happens to my Massachusetts property and vacation home if I don't have a prenuptial agreement?
    Answer: If you don't have a prenuptial agreement, Massachusetts state law will determine what happens to the property you acquired before and during the marriage, as well as at the time of divorce or death. While there is a good chance that you will be allowed to keep the property you brought into the marriage, the judge has discretion as to how your assets are to be divided based on the specifics of your case in the event of a divorce.
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  • Can my fiancee and I hire the same lawyer or attorney to draft our Massachusetts prenuptial agreement?
    Answer: We recommend that each party have their own lawyer or attorney to improve the enforceability of the Prenuptial Agreement. If both of you decide to use the same lawyer, you run the risk of having your prenuptial agreement , if contested, invalidated by the court. Your spouse can claim she was under duress, misinformed, and misled into believing that a second attorney wasn't needed in the drafting of the prenuptial agreement. Back to Top
  • Can a Massachusetts prenuptial agreement help to protect a house and vacation home that I own prior to marriage?
    Answer: Yes. If you own any type of property including a house or vacation home, a well drafted and enforceable prenuptial agreement can help to protect it in the event of a divorce. Back to Top
  • Can a prenuptial agreement affect or influence child custody in Massachusetts?
    Answer: Generally speaking, Prenuptial agreements do not deal with child support or child custody as judges have the final say as to custody and your child support obligations. Back to Top
  • Can a prenuptial agreement cover and include alimony in Massachusetts?
    Answer: You can have provisions in the Massachusetts prenuptial agreement to address alimony. But remember, the courts will scrutinize the prenuptial the day it was drafted and the day it was contested to determine if it is fair and reasonable. If the courts determine that the alimony provision of the prenup is unfair, they have the right to invalidate the provision waiving alimony. Back to Top
  • Can a prenuptial agreement cover and include child support in Massachusetts?
    Answer: Massachusetts's courts rely on the child support guideline when determining the amount of child support and the judge has discretion to determine the amount of support each parent must provide to their children. If your prenuptial agreement contains a provision that pre-determines the child support amount, the courts are likely to throw out the provisions if the amount is less than what the children would be entitled to pursuant to the child support guidelines. As a result, we don't include any child support provisions in our prenuptial agreement unless you want to provide financial support to your children above the child support guidelines.
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