Legal Question in Family Law in Michigan

Prenuptial Agreements...

So, my soon-to-be wife had a prenup drafted and I've read it and fully understand it. I'm ready to sign. The problem is the ''getting my own lawyer'' part. I have no mis-understandings with the agreement. I fully understand 100% of it. I am not an idiot. I get the fact that if I don't have a lawyer look at it then I could say, ''I didn't understand what I was reading!'' How my intelligence is perceived is more important than any dollar amount. If that could happen and a lawyer could get it to stick...Then one could also say, ''My lawyer didn't tell me that'' or ''My lawyer was somewhat less than smart and failed to get me to understand that.'' See my point. So the question is do I need to spend money on a lawyer to make it legal?

Asked on 9/20/07, 4:40 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Timothy Trichler Timothy R. Trichler - Attorney and Counselor at Law

Re: Prenuptial Agreements...

Greetings; Legally and technically you are correct. You do not need a lawyer to make it legal. However, SHE wants you to get a lawyer because her lawyer properly told her that if you do not have a lawyer, it may be difficult for her to enforce it against you later on down the road if/when you two divorce. In my practice, if the other side does not have a lawyer, I will not even draft it in the first place. Atty. Trichler,

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Answered on 9/20/07, 4:57 pm
Charles Kronzek The Kronzek Firm PLC

Re: Prenuptial Agreements...

You should certainly have a lawyer. Despite the fact that you should like an intelligent person, I would discourage you from performing surgery on yourself. I have no reason to believe that you are better qualified to practice law than you are to practice surgery. (However I will comment that you lack of understanding of your shortcoming does cause me to question your intelligence at least somewhat! That is not to be critical of you lack of legal knowledge but merely to point out that you seem to discount what years of training and experience contributes to the practice of a profession.)

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Answered on 9/20/07, 5:27 pm
Rochelle Guznack Law Offices of Rochelle E. Guznack, PLLC

Re: Prenuptial Agreements...

Yes, you do need to have your own attorney in order for the prenup to be enforceable in my opinion. This is one of the requirements in Michigan pursuant to case law. Prenups are governed by case law, not statute. A reading of the case law clearly sets forth specific factors for an enforceable prenup, and one of those is that each party must have their own attorney. Although this one component may not by itself invalidate such an agreement based on your specific facts and circumstances, I would not take any chances if I wanted the prenup. If I didn't want it to be enforceable, I would not get an attorney.

As a side note, non-attorneys are not stupid or idiots (usually); they are just not trained in the law. I don't know what you do for a living, but can someone with no experience or training just walk in one day and do your job as well as you?

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Answered on 9/22/07, 6:44 am

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