Indiana Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement or as it’s also known as ‘premarital agreement’ is a contract that future spouses enter into before they marry, which will regulate specific provisions if the marriage collapses. Previously prenuptial agreements were concluded mainly in those couples where at least one of the spouses had significant financial resources to protect his or her capital in case of divorce. But now the premarital agreement is gaining more and more popularity; many couples sign it in order to in advance resolve problems with the division of joint property and debts if the marriage is destroyed.

What issues can the Prenuptial Agreement resolve in Indiana

Any couple can sign a prenuptial agreement before the wedding. A premarital agreement in Indiana allows spouses to solve a wide range of problems, if suddenly it comes to a divorce, for example:

  • Regulates the ownership of each spouse regarding any marital property, as well as gives the opportunity to use, sell, mortgage, exchange this property.
  • Regulates the ownership of property in case of divorce, legal separation, or death of one of the spouses.
  • Ability to protect family property from division.
  • Protect one of the spouses from a partner’s debts or describe a mechanism of debts division.
  • Modification of alimony or its elimination.
  • In case of a dispute, based on the legislation of which state the controversial issue will be resolved.
  • Whether each spouse will be able to receive the death benefits from the insurance of his/her spouse.
  • Any other provisions that are not prohibited by state law.
  • What issues cannot the Prenuptial Agreement resolve in Indiana?
  • And yet, according to the legislation, a prenup does not have the right to regulate several issues, such as:
  • Any provisions that are contrary to the law.
  • Decisions regarding child custody and financial support.
  • Any personal questions, such as details of child-rearing or where to spend the holidays, etc.

Can the Prenuptial Agreement affect Child Custody and Child Support in Indiana

According to Indiana law, a premarital agreement does not give spouses the right to influence the determination of custody of common minor children. Moreover, the prenuptial agreement does not allow parents to influence the custody of the child while he or she has not yet been born. Indiana law says that the custody decision must be made following the best interests of the child. The judge will make the decision in the process of divorce, legal separation, or annulment of marriage. Parents can either agree with it or challenge in court.

The prenuptial agreement also does not entitle the parents to influence the amount of financial support for the child. According to the law, both spouses are required to support their common minor children financially. The amount of support is calculated based on the Indiana Child Support Guidelines, in which the gross weekly income model is used. The decision is also made by the judge based on an analysis of the financial situation of the parents and the needs of the child.

Can the court ignore the Prenuptial Agreement

In a divorce, Indiana Courts may ignore the provisions of a prenuptial agreement. For example, if one of the spouses has signed a contract because of the pressure exerted on him or her, in this case, the marriage contract will be recognized void. Any facts indicating that the agreement was not signed voluntarily testify in favor of the invalidity of this contract. Besides, an ‘unconscionable’ agreement is also considered invalid. An unconscionable agreement is such where the rights of one of the spouses are too infringed. The prenup is also invalid and is not enforceable if only one spouse signed it.

Of course, in most cases, the court adheres to the provisions of the marriage contract, but if any question is not clear enough, the court will hear the evidence of both parties before making a decision.

For a court to recognize a prenup in a divorce in Indiana, it must be clearly prepared without any controversial provisions. Therefore, it makes sense to seek the help of qualified lawyers. Besides, the agreement must be signed long before the marriage ceremony.