Prenuptial agreements: Your presentation is important
If you are planning to get married in the near future, you are probably well aware of America’s high divorce rate. No one wants to go into marriage thinking about someday getting divorced, but it is a risk worth being prepared for.
A prenuptial agreement is often the best way to stay focused on marriage while safeguarding against some of the risks associated with divorce. If you have decided that a prenuptial agreement should be included in your marriage plans, you should know that timing is important. When and how you present the prenuptial agreement to your fiancé could impact how enforceable the agreement is in court.
Timing: You can’t afford to procrastinate
Most people would agree that being asked to sign a prenup a year before the wedding is a lot different than being presented with the prenup just weeks before the wedding. If you surprise your soon-to-be spouse with the document close to the wedding date, he or she may feel pressured to sign. The guests have already been invited and most of the wedding has already been paid for.
If you later end up getting divorced, your spouse could claim that the document was signed under duress, which could make the agreement unenforceable. Presenting the prenup as soon as possible is the best way to avoid the duress argument.
Due consideration and seeking legal advice
The other important factor in presenting a prenuptial agreement is giving your fiancé time and opportunity to properly consider what they are about to sign. In most cases, it is wise to have each spouse consult with their own attorney about the terms of the agreement and what those terms will mean in the event of divorce.
If you drafted the prenup on your own with the help of an attorney, you’ll need to give your fiancé plenty of opportunity to review the terms, seek legal advice and to fully understand what they are signing. Even if you drafted the document together, it may be necessary for each of you to consult with separate attorneys.
There are other important components necessary for an enforceable prenuptial agreement, but many are case-specific. If you’re ready to get started on your prenuptial agreement or need to review one, please consult an experienced family law attorney.
Source: The Huffington Post, “The Prenuptial Agreement Cannot Be a Secret,” Fred Silberberg, March 10, 2015