A prenuptial agreement or premarital agreement (sometimes called a prenup) is an agreement made by two individuals prior to marriage. It becomes effective after marriage. The agreement generally includes terms relating to property rights, as well as spousal support and alimony, in the event of separation or divorce, and other rights and obligations of the parties. In Nevada, a state statute governs the legal requirements, terms, and enforceability prenuptial agreements.
Prenuptial agreements are not right for every couple or for all circumstances. But there are situations in which a couple may decide that a premarital agreement is appropriate.
If one prospective spouse owns considerable property or has significant income, a prenuptial agreement may serve to establish the terms for property division, support, and alimony if separation or divorce occurs. There are also other circumstances when a premarital may be appropriate, including when one or both prospective spouses have:
A prenuptial agreement likely will modify spousal rights under Nevada law, including community property rights. Because of that significant effect, an individual considering a premarital agreement should consult with an experienced lawyer.
Each prospective spouse should consult with his or her own attorney, since each person must protect and understand his or her own rights. It is not appropriate for a lawyer to advise both prospective spouses about a prenuptial agreement.
Using Do-It-Yourself (DIY) services or forms for a prenuptial agreement is not a good idea. To understand fully the rights you receive and give up, as well as your obligations under the agreement, you should talk with a knowledgeable attorney. Using forms also carries the inherent risk of creating an agreement that does not comply with Nevada requirements or is unenforceable under state law.
In Nevada, a state law called the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act governs the validity, content, and enforceability of prenuptial agreements. For a premarital agreement to be valid in Nevada, it must be in writing and signed by both parties before the marriage. It takes effect after the marriage. After it is effective, a premarital agreement can be changed or revoked only by the written consent of both spouses.
The Nevada statute prohibits inclusion of terms in a prenuptial agreement that adversely affect a child’s right to support. Otherwise, a couple may agree on any other matter that does not violate law or public policy. The statute specifically states that a premarital agreement may address:
With regard to spousal support, the law provides a limitation on the terms of a premarital agreement. If the spousal support provisions cause a spouse to be eligible for public assistance after separation or divorce, a court may order payment of support to the extent necessary to avoid that eligibility.
If a marriage is declared void by a court, the law provides that a “premarital agreement is enforceable only to the extent necessary to avoid an inequitable result.” If a marriage is valid, a prenuptial agreement is enforceable unless the person against whom enforcement is sought can prove that: (1) He or she did not execute the agreement voluntarily; or (2) The agreement was unconscionable when executed (as determined by the court); or (3) Prior to execution, he or she:
In the absence of one of these three circumstances, a premarital agreement will be fully enforceable in a Nevada court.
If you are considering signing a prenuptial agreement, it is extremely important to talk with a knowledgeable family law attorney. A premarital agreement significantly affects your spousal rights, including community property rights, under Nevada law. You should understand fully what property rights and other rights the agreement will affect before you sign.
Las Vegas attorney Joseph Gersten understands the importance and sensitivity of issues involved in a prenuptial agreement. He has the right experience and skill to work through the process and agreement with you. When appropriate, he can draft a premarital agreement or negotiate terms with the lawyer representing the other party.
Your initial consultation at The Gersten Law Firm is always free-of-charge. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.