Premarital agreements are often drafted to determine the division of property in the event of divorce. These agreements may even have provisions governing dowries or custody. Due to the popularity of online dating, more couples are meeting in foreign countries which begs the question, what happens to the premarital agreements of couples married abroad?
Typically, a U.S. embassy or the consulate will be unable to perform marriages in a foreign country. Instead, local civil or religious officials must perform these marriages. If a marriage is conducted in a manner corresponding to a foreign nation’s laws, that marriage is likely to be recognized as valid in the United States. In order to determine the validity of a foreign marriage, one must confirm with their state’s Attorney General. Individuals contemplating a foreign marriage can also complete a Certificate of Witness to Marriage (Outside of the United States) to emphasize the validity of their union.
There are two main categories of foreign premarital agreements: Prenuptial Agreements and Religious Agreements. Typically, prenuptial agreements are better suited to determine division of property following divorce or death than religious agreements.
Section 3(a)(7) of the UPAA states that that parties may have contracts regarding “the choice of law governing the construction of the agreement.” These choice-of-law provisions are common in U.S contracts given that people may move to regions with different laws. Some foreign countries do not need choice-of-law provisions since one code of law is applied uniformly throughout the entire country. If a couple does not live in the country in which their prenuptial agreement was drafted, or if the agreement was drafted in the distant past, a court may apply the law of the state in which their divorce suit was filed. If you have a foreign marital contract that has a choice-of-law provision, it is likely that a U.S. court will abide by that provision.
Additional ways to promote the enforceability of a foreign prenuptial agreement include:
If you have further questions in regards to Foreign Marriage Contracts, consider consulting with an experienced licensed lawyer today.
Retainer fees and cost estimates cause anxiety for many family law clients. Most of the time, this is the fault of lawyers. We do things differently. At Walters Gilbreath, PLLC our cost structure, bi...read more
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of our podcast, Jake & Brian sat down with Jim Piper, Of Counsel at Walters Gilbreath, to discuss how family law has changed since they started practic...read more
Submit the form below and a member of our intake team will contact you.
Brian and his staff were great. Brian’s direction and expertise provided me with the legal information relevant for my needs over several years now. He listens and is steadfast which gave me comfort in the courses of action. I highly recommend him.Brian and his staff were great. Brian’s direction and expertise provided me with the legal information...
Larry M.view all reviews