In some countries, including the United States, Belgium and the Netherlands, the matrimonial agreement provides not only for what happens in the event of a divorce, but also to protect certain properties during marriage, for example in the event of bankruptcy. Many countries, including Canada, France, Italy and Germany, have marital rules, in addition to or in some cases instead of marriage agreements. Marriage contracts are recognized in Australia by the Family Law Act of 1975 (Commonwealth).  In Australia, a marriage contract is called binding financial agreement (BFA).  Even in states that have not adopted UPAA/UPMAA such as New York, properly executed marriage contracts are admitted to the same presumption of legality as any other contract.  It is not necessary for a couple who signs a marriage pact to keep separate lawyers to represent him as long as each party understands the agreement and signs it voluntarily with the intention of being bound by its terms. There is a strong public policy that favours parties that control and decide their own interests through contracts.  There are no state or federal laws requiring adults with contractual capacity to hire a lawyer in order to enter into a marriage contract such as a marriage contract, with the exception of a California law that requires the parties to be represented by a lawyer if spousal assistance (support) is limited by the agreement.  The marriage agreement may be challenged if it is proven that the contract was signed under duress.  Whether a pre-marriage contract was signed under duress must be justified by the facts and circumstances of this case. For example, it was found that a spouse`s assertion that she believed there would be no marriage if it was not a marriage, where the marriage was only two weeks away and marriage plans had been made, was not sufficient to demonstrate coercion.  The marriage contract may be entered into by a woman and a man who have applied for registration of their marriage, as well as by spouses.
Minors who wish to enter into a marriage contract before the marriage is registered must obtain consent from their parent or administrator, authenticated by a notary.