Pre-Nup: Not Just for Celebrities
Let's talk pre-nups, prenuptial agreements, antenuptial agreements (yes, they're actually called that). Most people think of the extremely wealthy or celebrities fighting over millions when they hear "pre-nups."
Pre marriage agreements in Oklahoma are called antenuptial agreements. These agreements allow couples to define marital property however they see fit. If there is no antenuptial agreement contracting how marital property is defined, the court will see any property (and debt) acquired after the date of marriage, whether title jointly or only in one spouse's name, as marital property. “The only statutory method to affect the statutory right to a just and reasonable division of marital property in a divorce is a valid, written antenuptial contract.” 43 O.S. §§ 1, 121. An antenuptial agreement is a great way to make your own rules.
Antenuptial agreements are easily modifiable as your lives change throughout the years. For instance, if you never anticipated
student loan debt being a part of the marital property, but you and your spouse agree that you will each hold your newly acquired student loans as separate debt then you can modify your antenuptial agreement to include the new clause.
Although previously drafted antenuptial agreements are easily modifiable, post nuptial agreements have not been sustained in Oklahoma courts in regards to divorce and probate. The Supreme Court has held that an antenuptial agreement can limit or waive a spouse’s right to take, however, a postnuptial agreement attempting to limit or waive a spouse’s right to take is invalid and unenforceable. Hendrick ¶ 16 citing Crane v. Howard, 1951 OK —, 206 Okla. 278; In re Blayde’s Estate, 1950 OK —, 202 Okla. 558; and Atkinson v. Barr, 1967 OK 103. So if you want to preserve the ability to contract how you and your spouse can divide assets, you should do so BEFORE you are married.
Couples of all economic levels can benefit from antenuptial agreements! It is basically a way to have a written agreement with your spouse that explains how you two want to define marital property, personal property, gifts, how/if your spouse can inherit from you, how debt will be divided, or who will get custody of the pets.
I will be happy to help you with your antenuptial agreement!