If you’re getting married and already have significant savings or assets, you might consider a prenuptial agreement as a way to protect your interests in the event things don’t work out. While some people may be bothered by the whole idea of a prenup, the fact of the matter is, a document like this can bring clarity to a couple’s finances and actually avoid a bitter and ugly divorce down the road if it comes to pass.
Our office has prepared numerous prenuptial agreements that, by law, must fall under the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. Under the law, there are certain things that a prenup can and cannot do, in addition to falling under the guidance of general contract laws. This means that a person must have the mental capacity to understand they are signing a consensual legal document and that they have not entered into the agreement as a result of fraud, inappropriate influence or by mistake.
The UPAA states that a person must receive complete information about their future spouse’s property and finances in advance of signing a prenup and that they have at least seven days to review the document before they sign it, giving adequate time for a legal review if needed.
When we prepare a prenuptial agreement for a client, we take into account whether or not spousal support will be included in a divorce and which property will be considered community property and which will be separate property. This means that if a spouse owned a house prior to getting married, it could be considered separate property outside of the marriage, or spouses could agree that it would become community property instead. In some cases, spouses may agree that earnings may be considered separate from the marriage as well or that certain provisions of a trust will be waived, provided they don’t negatively impact any children in the event of a divorce.
Although we will aggressively defend our clients through the best prenuptial agreement possible, there are some things that we cannot include due to legal requirements. The most important of these is that we cannot draft a document that goes against public policy. For example, any prenuptial agreement that does not take into account the best interests of children in a divorce is not enforceable.
Every marriage, and therefore every prenuptial agreement, is different. As such, it is best to consult with us as soon as possible if you’re about to enter into a marriage and you are considering a prenup to protect your assets and your rights going forward. We’ll be able to counsel you and draft an appropriate agreement that is legally binding and ensures financial clarity going forward.
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