Written by Jonathan Breeden
There are many reasons why you and your fiancé may decide to sign a prenuptial agreement before you get married. If either of you own a business, you may wish to keep that separate from your marital finances. When one person’s income, inheritance, or family wealth is significantly greater than the others’, you may need to separate and protect that wealth.
Whatever your reasons for a prenup, it is essential that you and your fiancé go about negotiating and finalizing the contract properly. Common mistakes could make the agreement invalid or lead to unnecessary disputes down the road. To avoid these issues, we recommend contacting Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970 to speak with a prenuptial attorney.
When you are considering a prenup, work with an experienced attorney to avoid serious errors, such as:
Drafting a prenup that is right for you and your fiancé takes time, so the sooner you bring it up, the better. The longer you wait to have the potentially awkward conversation, the less time you have to come to an agreement and sign the agreement before your wedding day. Rushing into an agreement with only a few weeks or days before your marriage can raise questions regarding duress and failure to disclose material information.
A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract – but only if it is executed correctly. If you and your fiancé fail to meet one of several requirements to form a contract, then the prenup will be void.
For a prenup to be valid, both parties must enter into freely. However, this can be difficult when one party insists on the agreement and the other is uncomfortable with it. If a court finds you placed undue pressure on your spouse or coerced them into signing, the agreement may be thrown out.
Valid prenups require full disclosure of each party’s finances and obligations. This can be tough for some couples. You or your fiancé may be wary of sharing how much debt you have, or the full extent of your family’s wealth. However, if you enter into a prenup without fully disclosing all of this information, the agreement may be unenforceable in the future.
If you are going to enter into a contract with your future spouse, the provisions of that contract should be clear and concise. Using ambiguous language can cause significant debates that you likely want to avoid. It also can lead to an unintended outcome, or for the provision or prenup to be ruled unenforceable. Working with an experienced prenuptial attorney is the best way to avoid ambiguous language.
At this point, you can find all types of legal forms and boilerplate agreements online. These can provide a good reference point; however, you should never rely on them. Prenuptial forms online include provisions that are unenforceable, they may lead to outcomes you don’t want, and they may be missing provisions that are relevant to you and your fiancé.
When you and your fiancé are deciding no what should go into your prenup, you should not have the same legal counsel. Hiring your own lawyer can seem adversarial, but it does not have to be. It simply ensures that you each receive candid advice without any conflict of interest.
The best way to avoid common mistakes associated with prenuptial agreements is to work with an experienced and skilled lawyer. If all goes well, you will sign the prenup, put it in a drawer, and move forward with your marriage. You may never need to think about it again. But if the time comes that the prenuptial agreement must go into effect, you want to be sure it is valid and clear. You want to be able to rely on it. The best way to ensure the contract is reliable is to work with a prenuptial attorney from the very beginning.