Family Law Blog

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Jun 30, 2017 by Paul B. Hervey

Antenuptial agreements (commonly known as “prenuptial agreements” or “prenups”) are binding contracts between spouses laying out their rights in the event of death or divorce. Prenups are enforceable in Ohio as a matter of public policy (1).  However, to be enforceable, several standards need to be met.

  • The prenup needs to be entered into without fraud, coercion, duress, or overreaching.
  • There was full disclosure or full knowledge of the nature, value, and extent of the other spouse’s property.
  • The terms do not promote divorce or profiting from the same.

A prenup does not require a perfect or equal division of property (2).  However, when clearly beneficial to one party, that party bears the burden of showing that the prenup was entered into validly (without duress, with full knowledge, etc.) (3). 

The one thing that Ohio (and most states) does not allow is for a prenup to determine rights as it pertains to the children of the marriage.  Courts have the ultimate authority over these issues and must decide what is in a child’s “best interests,” which cannot possibly be known at the time of marriage.

Next week: Reasons for Seeking a Prenuptial Agreement

  1.  Gross v. Gross, 11 Ohio St.3d 99, 464 N.E.2d 500 (1984)
  2.  Juhasz v. Juhasz, 134 Ohio St. 257 (1938)
  3.  Fletcher v. Fletcher, 68 Ohio St.3d 464, 628 N.E.2d 1343 (1994)

The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice for any purpose. This blog is not intended to present an exhaustive summary of all applicable laws, or to take the place of legal advice.  If you have any questions regarding the law, please contact us for assistance.