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What should you know about prenuptial agreements?

On Behalf of | May 24, 2024 | marital agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a contract that engaged individuals execute before they get married. These agreements usually focus on financial matters, such as what will happen to certain assets and/or pay for specific debt burdens if the couple eventually gets divorced.

While some people may think that a decision to draft a prenup is an indication that one party thinks that their impending marriage will end, this agreement can actually provide a solid financial foundation for a romantic union. With that said, it’s critical that both parties carefully consider the terms of the agreement before signing anything.

What makes a prenup legally enforceable?

All prenups must be in writing and signed by both of the individuals who are getting married. Both parties must fully disclose their assets and debts before the prenup is signed. It must be signed voluntarily and based on comprehensive and factual information. Courts will scrutinize the agreement and any indication of coercion or incomplete disclosure can lead to it being considered invalid.

What can invalidate a prenup?

While prenuptial agreements cover a broad range of financial matters, there are limitations on what can be included. For example, child custody and child support provisions are typically not enforceable in prenups. This is because what’s best for the children can’t be determined before the marriage. Instead, that has to be decided if the couple divorces.

Prenuptial agreements also can’t include provisions that are illegal or violate public policy. For example, agreements that encourage divorce or include unconscionable terms, such as extreme penalties for minor infractions, are likely to be invalidated by courts.

A prenup can’t be presented at the last minute. Both parties must have adequate time to consider the terms and determine if they’re agreeable. It’s critical for each party to review everything in the contract before signing it. Remember, these are the terms that will apply if the marriage ends.

Discussing the idea of drafting a prenuptial agreement with a legal representative may be beneficial to better ensure that any contract that is executed includes terms that are enforceable and that reflect the rights and genuine interests of both parties.