Before I dive into what is included in a mid-nuptial agreement, it is probably best to define, “What is a mid-nuptial agreement?” It is a marital agreement between spouses who are already married. Although these types of agreements are not as common as pre-nuptial agreements or Marital Settlement Agreements, they are just as important to be aware of.
Similar to prenuptial agreements, the terms of mid-nuptial agreements can change the default rules that would otherwise apply if a married couple divorces or upon either spouse’s death.
One thing that can be included in a mid-nuptial agreement is property that was obtained prior to the marriage and how it will be divided in the event of a divorce or distributed upon a spouse’s death. A mid-nuptial agreement may include a section defining these types of property. This can be differentiated for circumstances such as death or divorce. This property could include things such as inheritance, a home that was purchased before the marriage, business ventures or investments.
Another item that can be included is property that was acquired jointly during the marriage. This type of property would be considered a marital asset under the Divorce Code and spouses can jointly determine what will happen with those assets should divorce occur. This can save time and money in the long run because the agreement spells out what the parties intended when they were under amicable terms.
Additionally, a determination of what will happen with the couple’s debts should death or divorce occur is another topic that can be included in a mid-nuptial agreement. This section of the agreement may establish separate responsibility for the debts of one spouse. It can address joint debts and individual debts, including the possibility that each spouse is only liable for the debts incurred in their own name.
As part of the mid-nuptial agreement, the parties will indicate that they have been given the opportunity to consult with an attorney and have chosen the attorney independently. They will acknowledge they have reviewed the document and had it fully explained to them prior to signing. They will also have to attest that they have disclosed all assets and liabilities at the time the document has been signed.
A mid-nuptial agreement cannot be forced upon either party. The document will include a section stating that both parties agree to sign the document and are stating they are doing so of their own free will. It will also include a provision which will allow modification of the document as both parties mutually agree. This may require an addendum to be drafted, reviewed, agreed upon and executed later in the marriage.
If you live or work in the central Pennsylvania area, including Carlisle, Harrisburg, Hershey and surrounding communities and would like to discuss midnuptial agreements or any other family law or estate planning/administration issue, please contact me.