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District of Columbia Premarital and Prenuptial Agreements

The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which was written by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law in 1983, encourages the enforcement of prenuptial agreements. The exact UPAA standards differ from state to state just like other divorce laws. The following is the District of Columbia statutes regarding premarital and prenuptial agreements and how they are considered and enforced by the District of Columbia court.

District of Columbia: D.C. Code, Division VIII, Title 46, Subtitle 1, Ch. 5 501-510

46-501 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) "Domestic partner" shall have the same meaning as provided in 32- 701(3).

(2) "Domestic partnership" shall have the same meaning as provided in 32- 701(4).

(3) "Premarital agreement" means an agreement between prospective spouses or prospective domestic partners made in contemplation of marriage or domestic partnership and to be effective upon marriage or domestic partnership.

(4) "Property" means an interest, present or future, legal or equitable, vested or contingent, in real or personal property, including income and earnings.

46-502 Formalities.

A premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. It is enforceable without consideration.

46-503. Content.

(a) 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, annulment, termination of a domestic partnership pursuant to 32-702(d), death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;

(4) The modification or elimination of spousal or domestic partner support;

(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.

(b) The right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.

46-504 Effect on marriage or domestic partnership.

A premarital agreement becomes effective upon marriage or the registration of a domestic partnership under 32-702.

46-505 Amendment; Revocation.

After marriage or the registration of a domestic partnership under 32-702, 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.

46-506 Enforcement.

a) A premarital agreement is not enforceable if the party against whom enforcement is sought proves that:

(1) That party did not execute the agreement voluntarily; or

(2) The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed and, before execution of the agreement, that party:

(A) Was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party;

(B) 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

(C) Did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.

(b) If a provision of a premarital agreement modifies or eliminates spousal or domestic partner 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, marital dissolution, or termination of a domestic partnership pursuant to 32-702(d), a court, notwithstanding the terms of the agreement, may require the other party to provide support to the extent necessary to avoid that eligibility.

46-507 Void marriage or domestic partnership.

If a marriage or domestic partnership 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, unless the agreement expressly provides that it shall be enforceable in the event that the marriage or domestic partnership is later determined to be void.

46-508 Limitation of actions.

Any statute of limitations applicable to an action asserting a claim for relief under a premarital agreement is tolled during the marriage or domestic partnership of the parties to the agreement. However, equitable defenses limiting the time for enforcement, including laches and estoppel, are available to either party.

46-509 Applicability.

This chapter applies to any premarital agreement executed on or after February 9, 1996.

46-510 Applicability and Construction.

This chapter applies to any premarital agreement executed on or after February 9, 1996.