If you're getting married, you may be asked to enter into a prenuptial agreement. If so, you'll want to carefully consider the legal implications before you sign it.
As you probably know, a prenup can ensure that your interests are protected in the event your marriage doesn't last. But because it's a contract, you'll want to make sure you know exactly what you're agreeing to, and what may happen if the agreement is violated.
Here are three practical legal tips to consider before you sign off on your prenup:
- Get a lawyer (both of you). A prenup is not as simple as "I get this, you get that." There are rules about what can and can't be included in a prenup. There are also many ways that even a signed prenuptial agreement can be invalidated if done incorrectly. The best way to ensure that a prenuptial agreement will be legally binding is to have it drafted by an experienced family law attorney; some states even require each side have their own independent counsel. But even if your state does not require independent counsel, it's probably still a good idea. That way, both parties have a chance to air their concerns, negotiate the terms, then hopefully never have to worry about it again.
- Give it some time. Another important factor in whether a prenuptial agreement will be valid is whether both sides had time to review its terms. A prenup presented to one of the spouses just minutes before the wedding may be invalidated if the party later argues that he or she did not have time to read it or review it with independent counsel. The prenup should be dealt with well in advance of the wedding, or at the very least presented to both sides to review and request changes if necessary.
- Consider videotaping the execution. A recent episode of Bravo's "Real Housewives" spinoff series "Kandi's Wedding" showcased an increasingly common trend for executing legal agreements: video documentation. On the show, husband-to-be Todd Tucker was signing a prenup waiving potential claims to bride-to-be Kandi Burruss' property in the event of divorce. Burruss' lawyer had the execution of the couple's prenup documented by a videographer to ensure that Tucker could not later claim he signed it under duress or fraud.
No one wants to plan for the end of their marriage before it even begins. But knowing that a valid prenuptial agreement will protect the interests of both parties in the event of a divorce is well worth the effort.
- Questions about legal issues involving marriage, children, or other relatives? Get in touch with a knowledgeable family law attorney in your area today.