As of March 23, 2023, a postnuptial agreement can now be legally valid in Ohio. Thanks to Senate Bill 210, which was signed into law at the start of the year, married couples can now enter into a postnuptial agreement. Additionally, the new law further allows a married couple to amend or even entirely revoke or terminate a previously agreed upon prenuptial agreement.
With the recent change, Ohio joins 48 other states which already allow such agreements. The new law requires that an agreement be in writing and signed by both parties, entered freely by both parties, and without fraud or duress. Further, the contract cannot be overreaching according to the new law. As with prenuptial agreements a complete and thorough disclosure of the parties’ assets must also be done.
What is a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement?
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is a contract entered into between the two parties. It is not entirely dissimilar from any other contract that can be entered into by two competent and consenting adults. The added flexibility to enter a new agreement after the marriage or to alter the prior agreement is in line with the ability to validly and effectively amend, alter or revoke many other types of contracts under Ohio law. Prenuptial or premarital agreements can contain a number of provisions. Common terms often relate to the disposition of property in the event of divorce or death, as well as provisions defining separate and marital property. It is common for such agreements to contemplate support, including spousal support or alimony and even child support.
This new tool provides flexibility for a married couple when it comes to their estate and other family planning. Prior to this change, it was not enforceable to enter into an agreement after marriage. Further, a premarital agreement, even if it had become outdated after decades, could not be altered, amended or revoked until this new law took effect. One can only imagine how much a marriage could change over time, and the flexibility to go back and alter the premarital agreement could avoid disputes or even save marriages.
If you have questions about postnuptial agreements or would like to revisit an existing prenuptial agreement, contact your attorney at Carlile Patchen and Murphy or any member of the Family Wealth & Estate Planning Group.