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Prenuptial Agreements in Oklahoma
CANNON & ASSOCIATES is dedicated to protecting the interest and assets of family law clients in central Oklahoma. Often times one party to a marriage will have substantially greater assets than their soon to be spouse and desire to protect these interests. The best way to do so is by enter into a mutually agreed upon prenuptial agreement. Yes, prenuptial agreements are valid in Oklahoma.
Both parties to a prenuptial agreement have interests that can be protected or memorialized in the agreement, such as a percentage of an estate or assets that will be transferred to one spouse upon the occurrence of a condition terminating the marriage or allowing for dissolution of marriage. Entering into a prenuptial agreement does not mean you do not trust your future spouse, rather it is a way for both sides to protect their separate interests and state they are getting married for love, not financial gain.
Contact an experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorney, if you are interested in entering into a prenuptial agreement before your wedding date.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A Prenuptial agreement, on its most basic level, is as simple as it sounds; an agreement or contract before “nuptial” (marriage); between the parties to be married. Oklahoma law allows for parties to contract to almost anything, as long as it is not unconscionable, unacceptable on its face. However, Oklahoma prenuptial law requires certain requirements are met before establishing an enforceable prenuptial agreement due to the potential for divesting one party of their marital share or interest in assets, income, or property.
Prenuptial agreements determine the sharing of finances during marriage and the division of assets and accounts upon divorce in Oklahoma.
What is Required for a Valid Prenuptial Agreement?
Oklahoma law requires many things in order to make an Oklahoma prenuptial agreement valid. Oklahoma law requires a prenuptial agreement be in writing. As stated above prenuptial agreements are similar to contracts and Oklahoma Courts require agreements not be made under fraud, duress, or coercion. Courts have routinely enforced prenuptial agreements against the objecting spouse and other family, if the prenuptial agreement accurately reflects the desired financial agreement between the parties prior to entering into marriage.
Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable?
The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals held in Francis v. Francis, 285 P.3d 707 that prenuptial agreements are analyzed as contracts “to give effect to the mutual intention of the parties, as it existed at the time of contracting. The rule applies to prenuptial agreements.” Prenuptial agreements are enforceable, if not coerced or fraudulent and in writing.
Oklahoma Statutes state prenuptial agreements must be signed and specifically states the following:
- Every estate in property may be disposed of by will; provided however, that a will shall be subservient to any antenuptial marriage contract in writing; but no spouse shall bequeath or devise away from the other so much of the estate of the testator that the other spouse would receive less in value than would be obtained through succession by law; provided, however, that of the property not acquired by joint industry during coverture the testator be not required to devise or bequeath more than one-half (1/2) thereof in value to the surviving spouse; provided further, that no person shall by will dispose of property which could not be by the testator alienated, encumbered or conveyed while living, except that the homestead may be devised by one spouse to the other. This subsection shall not apply to the estate of a decedent who dies on or after July 1, 1985.
- This subsection shall apply to the estate of a decedent who dies on or after July 1, 1985.
- Every estate in property may be disposed of by will except that a will shall be subservient to any antenuptial marriage contract in writing. In addition, no spouse shall bequeath or devise away from the other so much of the estate of the testator that the other spouse would receive less in value than an undivided one-half (1/2) interest in the property acquired by the joint industry of the husband and wife during coverture. No person shall by will dispose of property which could not be by the testator alienated, encumbered or conveyed while living, except that the homestead may be devised by one spouse to the other.
OKLA. STAT. tit. 84 § 44 (emphasis added)
What are the Benefits to a Prenuptial Agreement?
- Clearly defines the finances of each individual and the collective finances of the marriage;
- Clarifies much of the uncertainty of finances, if the marriage ends in divorce;
- Define how financial gains after marriage are handled in the case of divorce;
- Creates a fair agreement for both parties;
- Peace of mind that marriage is entered into for love, not financial gain.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement unable to do?
- Address child custody or child support
- Determine the manner you raise your children or make decisions
- Establish the roles parties will hold in the marriage.
How do I get a Prenuptial Agreement?
You should discuss your desires concerning a prenuptial agreement with your fiancé before seeking advice from an attorney. Specifically, you need to discuss how finances, assets, and accounts will be divided or distributed upon divorce or the death of one party. Both parties should seek separate attorneys to assist in the formation of your prenuptial agreement to ensure it complies with the substantive and procedural requirements of Oklahoma law governing prenuptial agreements.
Are prenuptial agreements signed immediately before wedding valid?
Yes, as long as both parties fully understand the contract and its terms it will be held to be valid. There is no hard rule about the timing of signing a prenuptial agreement; however, it is a best practice to sign the contract days or weeks before the wedding to ensure there is not undue pressure.
You should seek the advice of an attorney experienced in the formation and enforcement of prenuptial agreements in Oklahoma prior to marriage, if you are interested in entering into such an agreement. Keep in mind, both parties must agree in writing to abide by the terms. It is my hope this page has answered some of your questions regarding prenuptial agreements in Oklahoma, if not please contact CANNON & ASSOCIATES for a free consultation on your case.
Experience matters when considering entering into a prenuptial agreement. John Cannon, owner of CANNON & ASSOCIATES, PLLC, will personally represent you, work along-side you during the entire process, and do everything allowed under Oklahoma law to ensure your prenuptial agreement protects your interests and is enforceable. John has the experience you need and will bring it to bear in your case. Additionally, he has an outstanding record of reaching the best possible outcome for hundreds of clients, evidenced by receiving the highest possible AVVO rating – 10 (superb). Contact CANNON & ASSOCIATES to protect your child custody rights and fight your case. You may send an email inquiry, complete the contact form on our website, or call at 1(405) 657-2323 for a free confidential consultation.