Maine Premarital Agreement Law


Marriage – Premarital Agreements – Maine

Maine Revised Statutes

Short title: This chapter is known and may be cited as the “Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.” 1995, c. 694, § B-2, eff. Oct. 1, 1997.  19-A M.R.S.A. § 601.

Definitions: As used in this Act, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings:

1. Premarital agreement. “Premarital agreement” means an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage.
2. Property. “Property” means an interest, present or future, legal or equitable, vested or contingent, in real or personal property, including income and earnings. 1995, c. 694, § B-2, eff. Oct. 1, 1997 19-A M.R.S.A. § 602.

Formalities: A premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. It is enforceable without consideration.
1995, c. 694, § B-2, eff. Oct. 1, 1997.19-A M.R.S.A. § 603.

Content: Parties to a premarital agreement may contract with respect to:

1. Rights and obligations of parties. 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. Right to buy, sell, use property. 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. Disposition of property. The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;
4. Spousal support. The modification or elimination of spousal support;
5. Making of will. The making of a will, trust or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement;
6. Death benefit. The ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy;
7. Choice of law. The choice of law governing the construction of the agreement; and
8. Other matter. Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a law imposing a criminal penalty. The right of a child to receive support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement. 1995, c. 694, § B-2, eff. Oct. 1, 1997.19-A M.R.S.A. § 604.

Effect of marriage: A premarital agreement becomes effective upon the marriage of the parties. 1995, c. 694, § B-2, eff. Oct. 1, 1997.19-A M.R.S.A. § 605.

Effect of children: Except as otherwise provided in this section, an effective premarital agreement is void 18 months after the parties to the agreement become biological or adoptive parents or guardians of a minor. The premarital agreement is not void if, within the 18-month period, the parties sign a written amendment to the agreement either stating that the agreement remains in effect or altering the agreement. Sections 19-A:607 and 19-A:608 apply to any amendment under this section. This section does not apply to premarital agreements executed on or after October 1, 1993. 1995, c. 694, § B-2, eff. Oct. 1, 1997.19-A M.R.S.A. § 606.

Amendment; revocation: After marriage, a premarital agreement may be amended or revoked only by a written agreement signed by the parties. The amended agreement or the revocation is enforceable without consideration. 1995, c. 694, § B-2, eff. Oct. 1, 1997 19-A M.R.S.A. § 607.

Enforcement:

1. Not enforceable. A premarital agreement is not enforceable if the party against whom enforcement is sought proves that:

A. That party did not execute the agreement voluntarily; or
B. The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed and, before execution of the agreement, that party:

(1) Was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party;
(2) Did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided; and
(3) Did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.

2. Support required. If a provision of a premarital agreement modifies or eliminates spousal support and that modification or elimination causes one party to the agreement to be eligible for support under a program of public assistance at the time of separation or marital dissolution, a court, notwithstanding the terms of the agreement, may require the other party to provide support to the extent necessary to avoid that eligibility.
3. Unconscionability. An issue of unconscionability of a premarital agreement must be decided by the court as a matter of law. 1995, c. 694, § B-2, eff. Oct. 1, 1997.19-A M.R.S.A. § 608.

Enforcement; void marriage: If a marriage is determined to be void, an agreement that would otherwise have been a premarital agreement is enforceable only to the extent necessary to avoid an inequitable result. 1995, c. 694, § B-2, eff. Oct. 1, 1997. 19-A M.R.S.A. § 609.

Limitation of actions: A statute of limitations applicable to an action asserting a claim for relief under a premarital agreement is tolled during the marriage of the parties to the agreement. Equitable defenses limiting the time for enforcement, including laches and estoppel, are available to either party. 1995, c. 694, § B-2, eff. Oct. 1, 1997.19-A M.R.S.A. § 610.

Application and construction: This Act must be applied and construed to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this Act among states enacting it. 1995, c. 694, § B-2, eff. Oct. 1, 1997.19-A M.R.S.A. § 611.

Advantages of premarital agreements for both parties:

Avoiding Litigation Costs
Protecting against Fears of Family Members
Protecting Family Assets
Protecting Business Assets
Protection Against Creditors
Child Custody and Support Guidlines
Predetermined Disposition of Property

Disclaimer:    This law summary is not legal advice. If you are not an attorney, you should consult an attorney about serious legal matters.