Michelle - Cana


 Birmingham Family Law and Divorce Attorney

Why should a person be concerned about their assets and property when they are getting married? What may happen in the event they get a divorce. Many people mistakenly assume that if they get divorced, they will be able to keep what they brought into the marriage or what they may earn during the marriage. However, this is not the law when couples are divorced in Alabama.  The Birmingham Divorce and Family Law attorneys at Harwell Law Firm LLC have experience drafting and negotiating prenuptial agreements and can help clients decide whether a prenuptial agreement is right for them. If you have a question about an Alabama Prenuptial Agreement, please contact us at (205) 980-1445 to schedule a consultation or on line or by clicking the contact us link.

What is an Alabama Prenuptial Agreement?

An Alabama prenuptial agreement, also called a premarital agreement or contract, is a contract that allows a couple to decide what will become property of the marriage and what will remain each person’s separate property. It typically lists the property owned by each person as well as their debts, and specifies what each person’s property rights will be after marriage.

 Why are Alabama Prenuptial Agreements becoming more popular?

Alabama Prenuptial agreements are becoming more popular for a number of reasons. More people are getting married later in life, and this means that they have likely acquired more assets and debt before getting married. In addition, more people have children from prior relationships when they get married. Prenuptial contracts allow couples to negotiate these often-tricky situations beforehand.

 When an Alabama Prenuptial Agreement might be a good idea

Alabama Prenuptial Agreements are not just for wealthy people who want to protect their assets. Anyone getting married can have separate property and sometimes there are good reasons to keep it that way:

  • If one spouse brings much greater financial assets and property into the marriage than the other
  • If one spouse gives up a well-paying job or career in order to stay at home with children or to follow the other spouse to a new geographic location
  • If one spouse is part of a family business
  • If one spouse or both spouses have children from prior marriages
  • If the spouses have different investment and retirement goals due to age disparity or philosophical reasons.

 Alabama Prenuptial Agreement Can Prevent Disputes

As you may be aware, money problems are one of the primary causes of divorce in Alabama. Discussing each person’s assets and debts ahead of time can prevent disputes from occurring later on.

 Hire an Experienced Birmingham Divorce Attorney to Draft your Prenuptial Agreement

Most Alabama Prenuptial Agreements will define the current assets of each party and will further contain provisions in which assets which may be acquired during the marriage remain the separate legal property of one party or the other as opposed to becoming marital property.  A properly drafted Alabama prenuptial agreement is crucial to whether or not it can or will be enforced under Alabama Divorce Law. Although there are prenuptial agreement forms available on the internet, these “do it yourself forms” could cause you many problems if they are not clear and are not drafted pursuant to Alabama Divorce Law they may not be a valid agreement and may also be unclear.

Ambiguous Prenuptial Agreements May Not be Enforced 

Whether the parties’ Alabama Prenuptial Agreement is ambiguous is a question of law for an Alabama divorce judge. To determine whether an prenuptial agreement is ambiguous, a trial court is required to review the agreement to determine if the intent of the parties could be fairly and reasonably gleaned from the four corners of the document. The interpretation of a provision in an prenuptial agreement, like the interpretation of any provision in any Alabama legal contract, is a question of law for the trial court.

 Clearly Drafted Alabama Prenuptial Agreements Must be Enforced 

A Prenuptial Agreement that by its terms is plain and free from ambiguity must be enforced as written. This means that the judge must enforce the agreement “as is” and is not permitted to substitute his or her opinion.  However, an ambiguity may exist if an Alabama Prenuptial Agreement is susceptible to more than one meaning.  However, if only one reasonable meaning clearly emerges, then the Prenuptial Agreement is unambiguous. Finally, if a provision of an Alabama Prenuptial Agreement is not  clear, it is the duty of the trial court to determine its meaning, and the court’s determination is afforded a heavy presumption of correctness and will not be disturbed unless it is clearly erroneous. Based on Alabama divorce law and prenuptial agreements, it is vital that an experienced divorce lawyer prepare your prenuptial agreement to insure that you have a clear and unambiguous prenuptial agreement which will be enforced by the judge.

 Skilled, Experienced and Effective Domestic Relations, Family Law and Divorce Attorneys

If you want to head off financial problems before you get married or want to keep some property separate from the marriage, a prenuptial agreement is a good place to start. Our knowledgeable prenuptial agreement attorneys can draft an agreement tailored to your needs. Please contact Harwell Law Firm LLC at (205) 980-1445 or by clicking the contact us link.