Many historians say that a marriage contract was not uncommon in noble houses hundreds of years ago. In the modern world, this type of agreement is becoming more and more popular among spouses and those people who are just about to join the knot. However, not everyone fully understands the features and nuances of such a document.
What is a prenuptial agreement?
In world legislation, as well as in the regulatory legal acts of many countries, it is recognized that a marriage contract is a legal agreement between people who officially unite themselves by marriage, which determines the property relations of spouses during their life together and in the event of a divorce. In the world there are different attitudes of people to such formalities:
- In Anglo-Saxon legal practice, such agreements were common in the last century and were considered an absolute norm that protects the property rights of people who love each other.
- In the post-Soviet space, people learned about such an agreement only in the mid-1990s. Many perceived him negatively through the prism of bad luck or the conclusion of an alliance of convenience. However, nowadays more and more families, for a number of reasons, have begun to conclude a marriage contract and consider it a completely logical part of family life.
Why is a prenuptial agreement necessary?
Explaining why a prenuptial agreement is needed, lawyers highlight the following functions:
- Determining the mode of ownership of existing or possible future joint property: common, shared or separate after marriage and in the event of its dissolution.
- Preliminary decision on the division of property in the event of divorce.
- Solving other property issues. For example, the contract may prescribe the amount of material maintenance that one of the spouses is obliged to pay to the other during joint life or after its termination.
Pros and cons of a prenuptial agreement
When a couple turns to a notary to sign a marital contract, a competent specialist must explain to each of the partners all the advantages and disadvantages of such a document. The main advantages of a prenuptial agreement:
- Such a document determines in advance the property rights and obligations of both parties, relating to both already acquired and future savings.
- After signing the contract, quarrels and litigation on property issues can be avoided when the union is dissolved.
- For many people, such a document serves as a reminder of what awaits them in the event of constant quarrels or betrayals, and protects them from committing rash acts.
Of the minuses of the document can be identified:
- The negative attitude of a large part of the population towards such agreements. People consider the contract a sign of a lack of love in a couple.
- The possibility of settling only property relations between spouses.
- The need to pay for the services of a notary public for the preparation and certification of a document.
- Possible requirements for changing the contract in case of amendments to the regulatory legal acts of the state.
- If the wording in the document is vague, then in the event of a divorce, serious disputes between former lovers can arise.
Who can enter into a marriage contract?
Having clarified in detail what a marriage contract is, it is worth dwelling more specifically on who can conclude it. According to existing laws, signatures on such a document can be put by:
- Capable people over the age of 18 who are just about to formalize their relationship or are already legally married. In most countries it is only a man and a woman.
- The main criterion of legality is the legal capacity of those wishing to draw up a document, the principles of which are spelled out in the Civil Code.
- Age (for persons over 18), financial situation, education and other social criteria do not affect the right to draw up a contract.
When can a prenuptial agreement be concluded?
Not all the townsfolk understand when a marriage contract is concluded. According to lawyers, such a document is valid only after people formalize their union in the registry office. That is, those who cohabit without a stamp in their passport cannot officially divide their own or jointly acquired property with this form of agreement.
For legal spouses, the execution of a marriage contract is possible:
- Before the wedding, then the document will enter into force on the day the passport is stamped.
- During the period of joint life. The marriage contract is then valid from the date of its official signing.
Where is the marriage contract concluded?
According to the norms of the legislation of many countries, the conclusion of a marriage contract is possible only with the participation of a notary who has a license to carry out his professional activities. That is, a man and a woman can:
- Independently find and fill out a standard document, having approved it with a notary public with the correct spelling of all points.
- Get the help of a lawyer, and then document the signing with a notary.
- Draw up a document directly in the notary’s office, supplementing it with a seal and signature.
The content of the marriage contract
Lawyers draw special attention to the fact that it is possible to prescribe only the property conditions for concluding a marriage contract, if the spouses are not satisfied with their regulation by the usual regime of joint property of the state. However, experts say that there is no standard form of a marriage contract in the legislation. Such a document may include:
- The order of ownership of property that was acquired by each of the spouses before marriage.
- Disposition of joint property.
- Credit and financial obligations of the parties to each other.
- Conditions for the division of business, both existing and future.
- Property rights of children that already exist or are planned and more.
What conditions can be included in a prenuptial agreement?
The main conditions of the marriage contract have already been given above, which are prescribed by the spouses with the assistance and verification of a notary. The document can include:
- Rules for the division of property in the event of a divorce.
- The procedure for incurring family expenses with a separate budget.
- Divorce benefits for one or both spouses.
- Certain periods or the occurrence (not the occurrence) of specific circumstances under which a marriage or matrimonial contract may come into force.
What can not be written in a prenuptial agreement?
Given the complexity and versatility of family relationships, a legal agreement between spouses is not capable of defining their entire spectrum. According to the law, such a contract cannot:
- Limit the legal capacity and capacity of one or both partners.
- Forbid a husband or wife to go to court to protect their legitimate interests.
- Limit non-property rights and obligations of spouses in relation to children.
- Contain clauses according to which the disabled spouse does not have the right to material maintenance.
- Include other conditions that put one partner in an absolutely disadvantageous position or contradict the norms of existing legislation.
How to conclude a marriage contract?
According to the norms of the Family and Civil Code, the preparation of a marriage contract is considered a bilateral transaction, the conclusion of which is possible:
- Only in writing. It is impossible to verbally draw up a marriage or matrimonial contract even in the presence of witnesses.
- The text of the document can be compiled independently, having a standard sample, or you can seek help from a lawyer. Such a service is not considered typical, from which its cost may vary in different regions.
- The finished document must be certified by a notary. Before that, a fee is paid.
- The notary checks the legality of the wording of all points of the document, reads the document aloud, explains to the spouses their rights and obligations, the meaning of all points of the document and their legal consequences.
What documents are needed for a marriage contract?
The law does not prescribe all the specific features of each marriage contract, therefore the list of documents required for its certification may vary. The standard package may include:
- Documents proving the identity of the husband and wife. It can be a passport, military ID and others.
- Marriage registration certificate, if already concluded.
- Papers certifying the ownership of the spouse or spouses to real estate. You can provide a cadastral passport of the premises, an extract from the USRR and others.
- Documents on the ownership of the transport, if its section is also included in the list.
- Birth certificates of children.
- Credit agreements.
- Alimony agreement.
- Certificates and income of spouses and others.
The term of the marriage contract
In common world practice, a marriage contract is drawn up for:
- Indefinite term, but terminates upon dissolution of marriage, unless otherwise specified.
- The parties can independently determine the period of validity of the document or its individual clauses, limiting it to a specific date or the occurrence of certain circumstances, for example, the birth of children.
Can a prenuptial agreement be contested?
Life situations can change greatly, which makes it necessary to challenge the agreement of persons entering into marriage. This can be done by one of the parties in a judicial proceeding. However, this will not succeed if a person simply does not want to fulfill previously signed agreements. The court can grant the claim only if one of the following reasons exists:
- At the conclusion of the transaction, one of the parties was not aware of his actions: he was incapacitated, was in a state of alcoholic or drug intoxication, and nervous stress.
- If during the signing process there was pressure, violence or threats from one of the spouses, then there are those actions that interfered with the free expression of will.
- One of the parties was in error regarding the property consequences of the transaction.
- The agreement deliberately put one of the parties in an extremely disadvantageous position.
Recognition of the marriage contract as invalid
In addition to termination in civil proceedings, there is the concept of nullity or invalidity of the marriage contract. A contract may be recognized as such in whole or in part only by a court decision for one of the following reasons:
- The notary’s signature is missing or invalid on the document.
- The papers were signed by a person who was recognized as incompetent at the time of the transaction.
- The text of the document contradicts the basic laws of the state, recognizing the rights and freedoms of spouses or one of them.
- The document is feigned, for example, to make another transaction, or imaginary, for example, when the property is under threat of seizure.
How to terminate a marriage contract?
The procedure for terminating a marriage contract may consist of the following steps:
- It is the responsibility of either party to ensure that there are valid grounds for termination. Often, for this, people turn to a competent lawyer who helps to collect evidence and leads the entire further course of litigation.
- Collecting supporting documents.
- The spouse submits a statement of claim in the established form to the world or district court at the place of residence, attach the necessary package of documents.
- The trial begins, in which the parties or their representatives must participate in court hearings.
- After the completion of the proceedings, the court makes its decision to terminate the contract or to refuse to cancel the document.