A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, is more commonly used today than ever before, and it’s not just wealthy couples using these agreements. A prenup can be a legal way to address concerns you have before entering into a marriage–such as what will happen to your personal business if you and your spouse divorce down the road–and it can also help you avoid the cost and drain of a drawn-out divorce in the future if done properly.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that a prenup is only as good as its terms. If there is something wrong or vague in your prenup, it may not stand up in court should you divorce in the future, making the entire effort futile. Before you complete your prenup, make sure you are covering all of the bases.
Have Open and Full Financial Disclosure on Both Sides
In order for a court to find a prenup valid, there must have been a full and fair financial disclosure made by both spouses to each other. Otherwise, it can be argued that one spouse made the decision to sign it without having all of the financial facts. You must fully disclose your finances to your soon-to-be spouse, and they must do the same in kind.
Get Your Own Attorney
You and your spouse cannot use the same attorney for the prenup. Doing so could lead the court to decide in the future that one spouse didn’t have adequate legal counsel before they signed. If you are both using the same attorney, there will be questions as to whether the attorney favored one of you over the other.
Make sure both you and your spouse have your own attorney, both of whom are licensed to practice law in your state and are in good standing with the relevant bar association. As with any other legal issue, find an attorney you are comfortable with and confident in.
Use the “Right” Attorney
Go with an attorney who has extensive experience in prenup agreements. This is a precise area of law, and you want to have experienced representation. While your car accident attorney may have been great during your accident case, they are not the right person to handle your prenup, which is an entirely different area of law.
If you do know any attorneys you trust, you can ask them for a referral to someone who handles prenups. You can also ask family and friends for recommendations or contact your local bar association for a list of potential names. Don’t go with the first attorney you hear about. Meet with at least three attorneys before you decide to work with one. It’s important you are comfortable with your attorney. Otherwise, you may have a harder time discussing the sensitive matters involved in making a comprehensive prenup.
Avoid the DIY Route
Many couples decide to use online tools to draft prenups on their own to save time and money. However, this can turn into a waste of time down the road. You may end up with a prenup with terms that are not enforceable in court, which defeats the purpose of the document, or one that failed to address a major issue. Alternatively, you may end up giving up several valuable things in exchange for one thing because you didn’t have legal advice before you signed.
A prenup is a valuable legal tool if it is done properly. Work with an attorney to create yours so you end up with an agreement that truly covers all the bases and stands up in court.