DBL Law – Changes in Ohio Law Paves Way for Postnuptial Agreements

Ohio has been one of only a handful of states that has not allowed a postnuptial agreement until recently.   In December 2022, the Ohio legislature passed Senate Bill 210 which will now allow couples to enter into an agreement about disposition of property in the event of a divorce or death.  This will assist couples who have a disparity in net worth or who have blended families or for other reasons to do proper estate planning.   The change is substantial as it will allow couples to make decisions about divisions of net worth rather than being subject to Ohio law.  Currently, in Ohio a spouse cannot  be disinherited by a will and the law dictates what property a spouse is entitled to receive.   Further, if a couple in Ohio entered into a pre-marital agreement, it could not be changed no matter how old or outdated they were.   Now, this new law will allow couples to amend those pre-marital agreements as well.  

This is a positive change for Ohio residents but will require a carefully drafted postnuptial agreement.  Per the new law, the agreement must comply with the following: the agreement is in writing and signed by both spouses; entered into freely without fraud, duress, coercion, or overreaching; there must be full disclosure, or full knowledge, and understanding of the nature, value, and extent of the property of both spouses; the terms do not promote or encourage divorce or profiteering by divorce.  The law will be effective at the end of March 2023.

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