Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement must meet specific requirements under state law to be valid and enforceable. As an Ohio family law attorney for more than 25 years, Rick Marks advises individuals who are considering a prenuptial agreement to address financial matters before marriage. He draws on his extensive experience to assist clients in Portage and Summit Counties.

Experience and Practice Approach

In 1995, Rick Marks and Beth Chandler-Marks established Marks & Chandler Co., L.P.A. as a husband-and-wife law firm with a practice focused exclusively on family law. After Beth transitioned her practice to education law, Rick continued Marks & Chandler as a solo practice law firm, which it remains today.

By concentrating only on family law, Rick maintains an exceptional level of knowledge of the legal principles applicable to his practice. Limiting the scope of his practice also enables Rick to devote his full attention to helping and supporting his family law clients.

Rick recognizes that a prenuptial agreement is a delicate matter requiring a sensitive approach. At the same time, he knows that addressing financial matters before a marriage may resolve potentially serious issues that can arise during a marriage. He takes a positive approach to prenuptial agreements by addressing all the legal issues that apply, while being very attentive to preserving the relationship between you and your intended spouse.

Rick’s client-focused approach includes close communication with you throughout the entire process of drafting and negotiating a prenuptial agreement. He provides legal and moral support to minimize the stress of the situation and to help you make the best decisions, both short-term and long-term. You can always reach Rick to ask questions or address concerns — including evenings and weekends.

The success of Rick’s approach to practice is demonstrated by the fact many of his clients come through referrals from former clients and other attorneys.

Ohio Law on Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement entered into prior to marriage to address financial matters between the parties in the event of divorce or death. Ohio law also refers to these agreements as antenuptial agreements. Premarital agreement is another commonly used term.

Ohio courts have long recognized the validity of prenuptial agreements that meet specific legal requirements. If a prenuptial agreement fails to meet the criteria, a court may declare provisions of the agreement to be invalid and unenforceable. For that reason, individuals considering a prenuptial agreement should take every precaution to ensure that their agreement meets the necessary legal standards. The best way to accomplish that goal is to get assistance from an experienced Ohio family law attorney before drawing up and signing a prenuptial agreement.

The basic legal requirements for a prenuptial agreement are:

  • The agreement must be in writing and signed by the parties.
  • Both parties must make full financial disclosure of assets and debts prior to signing.
  • The terms of the agreement must be reasonably fair to both parties, taking a wide range of factors into account.
  • Both parties must voluntarily enter into the agreement, without coercion, fraud, or duress.
  • The terms of the agreement cannot encourage divorce.

A prenuptial agreement may address whether specific property owned individually by the parties will be considered as separate property or marital property for purposes of property division in the event of a divorce or dissolution. An agreement may determine division of liabilities and debt and address spousal support as well. The parties may also include matters relating to property rights in the event of death of either party. Ohio law does not allow a prenuptial agreement to address any matters relating to child custody and parental rights or child support.

Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement provides benefits to both parties in many different situations. If an individual owns a significant amount of property, has an interest in a business, or wishes to protect their rights in certain property after marriage, entering into a prenuptial agreement may be advisable. A couple planning to marry also may consider a prenup when there are children from a previous marriage.

Rick Marks has the knowledge and experience to help you determine whether you can benefit from a prenuptial agreement. He explains all the provisions of law that apply to make certain that you make an informed decision. If you decide to proceed with an agreement, Rick can draft the agreement and handle negotiations with your intended spouse’s lawyer. He is always careful in navigating all aspects of the prenuptial agreement process to respect and preserve the existing relationship between the parties to the agreement.

If a couple decides to proceed with a prenuptial agreement, each person should get assistance from an experienced family law attorney. Under ethical rules that apply to the legal profession, one lawyer cannot represent the interests of both parties to a prenuptial agreement or advise both parties of their rights and obligations under the agreement.

It is not a good idea for either party to agree to a prenup without legal advice. Each attorney protects the interests of their client and makes certain that the agreement satisfies applicable legal requirements. Having separate lawyers also helps to minimize potential issues directly between the parties.

Schedule a Consultation

To talk with Rick Marks about a prenuptial agreement or any other family law matter, please call (330) 677-9000 or use the online contact form. From his office in Kent, Rick assists clients in Portage County and Summit County.