prenuptial agreement

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Prenuptial Agreement

A legal and binding agreement that a couple enters prior to their marriage. Prenuptial agreements are commonly associated with the division of assets in the event of a divorce later in life, but they may also include other details such as how assets are distributed in the event of the death of a spouse. Prenuptial agreements are somewhat controversial as some see them as providing an expectation of divorce; they are designed, however, to reduce financial uncertainty in a marriage.
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prenuptial agreement

A written agreement by a couple who plan to marry in which financial matters, including rights following divorce or the death of one spouse, are detailed.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Enforcement of Mahr Agreements as Prenuptial Contracts
The majority of American courts that have addressed the issue have interpreted mahr agreements as prenuptial contracts, valid so long as they conform to requirements of contract law and the state's statutory standards for prenuptials.
More substantively, in the United States, prenuptial contracts are defined as agreements entered into by two "individuals who intend to marry which affirms, modifies, or waives a marital right or obligation," (88) Historically, prenuptial contracts were considered unenforceable by American courts.
Other courts have declined to interpret mahr agreements as specialized prenuptial contracts, but instead view them as basic civil contracts, leaving open the opportunity for both enforcement of the mahr agreement and equitable distribution of property and alimony dispositions.
In other words, blanket enforcement of mahr under simple contract law in some ways may be equally as problematic as designating them prenuptial contracts.
One example that has already been discussed in this Note is the prenuptial contract. (168) Despite the civil court system's early suspicion towards, and invalidation of, prenuptial contracts, once appropriate protections were put in place that guaranteed informed choice in the process, courts began to view these as valid and enforceable contracts.
Regardless of whether the court enforces the mahr agreement as a prenuptial contract or strikes it down as unenforceable, and regardless of whether the husband or the wife benefits from this holding, the interpretation of mahr agreements as prenuptial agreements is fundamentally flawed.
For example, as the court in Odatalla noted, "the Mahr Agreement continues a custom and tradition that is unique to a certain segment of our current society and is not at war with any public morals." (134) However, where the foreign divorce was obtained through talaq, courts are reticent to enforce an unfavorable mahr agreement as a prenuptial contract that bars equitable division of property.