More and more soon-to-be-married couples find themselves in discussions about prenuptial agreements. There’s no easy answer as to whether signing one of these premarital agreements is a good idea. Everything depends on your individual situation and the terms of the agreement. This article outlines some of the most important things to look out for when considering a prenup, but it is always a good idea to talk with an attorney experienced in prenuptial agreements prior to signing one.
Why Sign a Prenup?
Prenuptial agreements, also called “prenups” have developed a rather bad reputation over the years. They’re often associated with Gold digging spouses or relegated to the realm of the rich and famous. However, prenups can be a great tool for couples with significant assets to establish the financial rights of each spouse before the marriage. A prenup can help in the event of divorce and ensure your financial security moving forward. If done correctly, a prenup can be a great asset.
Things to Look Out For in a Prenup
Too many people do not seek the advice of an attorney when considering a prenuptial agreement and later find that the agreement is invalid, or otherwise does not offer the protections that they thought it did. When considering a prenup, here are some key things you need to watch out for:
- The agreement must be in writing. Oral prenups are not valid.
- Both parties must sign the agreement. No signature means no agreement.
- Neither spouse should be pressured into signing the agreement. It is best to give each other as much time before the wedding as possible to fully consider the agreement.
- The agreement must not contain invalid provisions. Modifications to child support obligations or other illegal provisions will be struck out and may render the entire prenup invalid.
- Both spouses must fully and truthfully disclose all pertinent information. This includes information about income, assets and liabilities.
- The agreement should not be grossly unfair. While the agreement doesn’t have to be equitable, it should not be unconscionable.
- Both spouses should seek the advice of independent counsel. This is no time to cut corners and share an attorney – each of you should have a different attorney.
The Negotiation Phase
There are few truer tests of a marriage than the ability to successfully negotiate a prenuptial agreement. If you can think of it as a business transaction and keep emotion on the sidelines, you have a much better chance of walking down the aisle without feeling as though you’ve made a mistake. Being able to work through disagreements and come up with an agreement that you are both happy with is a skill that will translate well into marriage. Don’t give up just because it’s hard. Talk things through.
Sign It and Forget It
Once that prenup is signed, put it in your safe and close the door, literally and figuratively. Your focus should be on your wedding and making your marriage the best partnership you can.
If you are thinking about entering into a prenuptial agreement, call us today to talk with an experienced family law attorney at the Law Office of Gary R. Swavely.