DC PREMARITAL AGREEMENTS AND ENFORCEABILITY

Premarital agreements can be extensive and can include many provision, however below are some of the main issues that can be legally addressed and enforced through premarital agreements.

DC Code § 46–503 provides specific statutory content for the premarital agreements:

(1) The rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located;

(2) The right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property;

(3) The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, annulment, termination of a domestic partnership pursuant to § 32-702(d), death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;

(4) The modification or elimination of spousal or domestic partner support;

(5) The making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement;

(6) The ownership rights in, and disposition of, the death benefit from a life insurance policy;

(7) The choice of law governing the construction of the agreement; and

(8) Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty. 

The enforceability of the agreement is codified by DC Code § 46–506 and agreements not enforceable if proven:

(1) That party did not execute the agreement voluntarily; or

(2) The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed and, before execution of the agreement, that party:

(3) Was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party;

(4) Did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided; and

(5) Did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.

(6) If a provision of a premarital agreement modifies or eliminates spousal or domestic partner support and that modification or elimination causes one party to the agreement to be eligible for support under a program of public assistance at the time of separation, marital dissolution, or termination of a domestic partnership pursuant to § 32-702(d), a court, notwithstanding the terms of the agreement, may require the other party to provide support to the extent necessary to avoid that eligibility.

(7) An issue of unconscionability of a premarital agreement shall be decided by the court as a matter of law.

It is advisable to allow sufficient time to draft an enforceable agreement with full financial disclosure as well as separate legal representation to ensure the agreement is held valid if later challenged.

Contact our DC divorce lawyers to set up an initial consultation.

Categories: Family Law.