Premarital Agreement: What is It?

Controlled by Chapter 3 of Title 13 of the Delaware Code, a "premarital agreement" (or "PreNup" as it is often referred to in casual conversation) is an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage, and which becomes effective upon marriage.  A premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties (notarized signatures is best practice).

Parties to a premarital agreement may contract with respect to:

  1. The rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located;
  2. The right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property;
  3. The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;
  4. The modification or elimination of spousal support or alimony;
  5. The making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement;
  6. The ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy;
  7. The choice of law governing the construction of the agreement; and
  8. Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.

There is one clear limit set by the Delaware Legislature on the parties' right to contract: the right of a child to support from either parent may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement. 

After marriage, a premarital agreement may be amended or revoked only by a written agreement signed by the parties (notarized signatures is best practice).

Each party should retain an original, signed version of the premarital agreement for their records.

If you are getting marriage and have assets that need protecting, consider scheduling an initial consultation with a family law attorney who specializes in this area to draft your premarital agreement.