In the United States of America, the lawmaking power of the federal government is often limited, thereby giving power to the individual states under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is often the responsibility of the U.S. Uniform Law Commission to draft laws, which are approved by a sponsor commission, that ensure consistency across state lines. The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) of 1983 is one of these types of acts, and was created by The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. Currently the UPAA has been accepted by 27 states and has been introduced, but not yet adopted, in four more.
The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act was designed to address the legal issues surrounding the state of marriage and divorce in the United States. Due to the increasing divorce rate, many couples seek to enter into legal agreements before marriage, which outline property rights and division of assets, as well as other postnuptial plans. Additionally, the UPAA seeks to put consistent legislation into place which can be consulted despite a mobile population, and many variables within the marriage contract and relationship. While it does offer a set of rules for many types of marriages and divorces, the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act was designed only for those who enter into a legal marriage agreement.
Section 1 states that the UPAA does not address, nor cover, the concerns of those living together, or any other type of relationship in which the participants do not marry. In Section 2, the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act asserts that any prenuptial agreement must be in writing and the signatures of both parties are required. Therefore, the act does not apply to the concerns of those who may have entered into a premarital oral agreement. Section 3 sets out a list of acceptable subjects for prenuptial agreements including control of property, life insurance, and spousal support.
The objective of Section 4 of the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act is to ensure that all parties understand that the premarital contract begins when the marriage begins, and Section 5 states that the prenuptial agreement may be revoked upon written consent of both parties. Section 6 illustrates situations in which the agreement cannot be enforced including questions about the voluntary status of one or more of the parties, unfair or unreasonable disclosure of property, or inadequate knowledge of property before the marriage. Section 7 deals with a marriage that has been voided, and Section 8 covers statute of limitations.