A prenuptial agreement, called a premarital agreement in Indiana, is a contract entered into by a couple prior to their marriage. The agreement becomes enforceable after they are married. Although there are significant financial and personal benefits to creating a prenuptial agreement, it is not always easy to discuss. It’s important to protect the rights of both parties, and this is easiest to do with the guidance of an Indianapolis prenuptial attorney.

A prenuptial agreement can establish the property rights of both spouses throughout their marriage and in the event of a divorce. These are difficult conversations to have, but it can be incredibly important for each spouse to have more certainty in the future, knowing that they will be financially cared for if they divorce. This can, in turn, make spouses more secure in a marriage. It’s useful to understand what a premarital agreement can address and if it’s right for your marriage.

What a Premarital Agreement Can Address

A premarital agreement, in its most basic form, outlines how property is divided if a couple divorces. This means that spouses are not subject to the state’s property division laws and do not have to negotiate the division outside of court. This can make a divorce go more smoothly.

A premarital agreement can cover some of the following financial issues:

  • Property Rights: This can determine what property is considered separate and marital, including the spouses’ assets prior to the marriage and the assets they gain during the marriage. If the couple does not want their assets split by state law, then an agreement can prevent this. A marital agreement can determine each spouse’s rights to property during the marriage, including their right to sell, exchange, transfer, and buy property.
  • Inheritance Rights: If either spouse has children from a prior marriage, a marital agreement can decide how those children and any new children will inherit from both spouses.
  • Attorney Fees: The agreement can decide how attorney’s fees of both or either spouse are paid in a divorce.
  • Estate Planning: Spouses can decide if either spouse will create a will or trust that supports the arrangements made in the marital agreement.
  • Spousal Support: The agreement can determine if a spouse will receive spousal support after a divorce and under what circumstances that is modifiable.

For these agreements to be useful and enforceable, both parties must provide full disclosure of their assets and debts. A marital agreement can address any other issues that a couple wants to discuss, assuming it is not against state law. Typically, these agreements are only for financial issues.

What Can’t Be Listed in a Premarital Agreement?

A premarital agreement in Indiana cannot include provisions for child custody or child support. These decisions must be made based on the child’s interests, which cannot be done years in advance or before the child is born. Both parents have a financial obligation to support their children, and both parents have the legal right and responsibility for custody. These responsibilities can’t be removed with a premarital agreement.

If a premarital agreement includes these terms, the court will either strike those provisions or refuse to enforce the entire agreement.

Is a Premarital Agreement Right for You?

Depending on your and your partner’s unique financial situation and personal relationship, there are several ways a premarital agreement could benefit you. These may include:

  • You are uncertain about how finances will be managed in your marriage.
  • You or your spouse have significant and high-value assets prior to marriage.
  • You or your spouse have children from a prior marriage or relationship.
  • You own a business or an interest in a business.
  • You or your spouse is planning on not being employed for a period of time to pursue higher education, engage in career training, or care for children.
  • You want to avoid costly divorce litigation or long negotiation proceedings.

An attorney can help you decide if a premarital agreement is right for your marriage.


Q: Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable in Indiana?

A: As long as a prenuptial agreement is valid, it is enforceable in Indiana. For a prenuptial agreement to be considered valid, it must:

  1. Be entered into willingly and not under threat of force
  2. Not be unconscionable, meaning that it is not unfair to either party.
  3. Not be created through fraud.
  4. Be signed by both parties and in writing.
  5. Include full asset disclosure by both parties.
  6. Not include terms for child support and custody.
  7. Not include terms for waiving or modifying spousal support that leaves a spouse in financial hardship.

Q: Can You Write Your Own Prenup in Indiana?

A: Yes, you can write your own prenuptial agreement in Indiana, but it can be risky. A marital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties, and it must meet other contract law requirements. If these requirements are not met, the prenup will not be enforceable. This negates the time you put into creating the agreement. It also means that if you and your spouse discover that an agreement is unenforceable during a divorce, you will have to negotiate the terms of property division again, or the court will decide for you.

Q: How Much Does a Prenup Cost in Indiana?

A: A prenup will cost different amounts depending on the professional you work with to draft the agreement. It may cost between $2,000 and $3,000 for the help of an experienced attorney. An attorney who charges less is likely to have less experience with drafting marital agreements.

Although it can be tempting to work with a less-expensive attorney or draft a prenup without an attorney, this can severely complicate future financial issues during marriage and in divorce. Without the right attorney, an agreement is more likely to be unenforceable or result in complex and expensive legal issues.

Q: What Are the Disadvantages of a Prenuptial Agreement?

A: Prenuptial agreements can have both personal and legal disadvantages if done incorrectly. These agreements can help spouses communicate regarding important financial matters, but these same conversations can be uncomfortable or distressing. Spouses can also have different wishes about what to include in the agreement, thus causing disagreements.

Legal disadvantages can include unenforceable agreements or unaddressed aspects of a divorce. Although the court should deny an unconscionable agreement, there is a possibility that an unfair agreement is still enforced, leaving one spouse in a financially hard situation.

Contact Stange Law Firm

When you need straightforward legal support during the creation of a premarital agreement in Indianapolis, contact Stange Law Firm.