We normally hear about prenuptial agreements in the context of Hollywood divorces or splits among the rich and famous. However, these agreements can have benefits for ordinary people as well. Particularly if you’re entering a second or subsequent marriage, a prenuptial agreement can be invaluable when it comes to spelling out each partner’s financial rights and responsibilities.
The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to set ground rules for how a couple’s assets will be divided in the event of death or divorce, and a well-drafted agreement can save you an immense amount of difficulty – not to mention money – in the event that your marriage ends.
If you’re considering entering into a prenuptial agreement, you’ll want to avoid these common mistakes:
- Trying to do it yourself. This is one of those areas of the law where it’s easy to make a misstep and include a provision that simply won’t be upheld by a court. You’ll want to enlist the help of an experienced attorney.
- Sharing an attorney. Each partner needs to have the opportunity to seek independent legal advice as to the contents of the agreement.
- Hiding assets or liabilities. An effective prenuptial agreement requires both partners to fully understand the spousal rights they’re giving up in the event of death or divorce. If you’re not up front with your intended spouse as to your complete financial picture, you’re effectively asking for a challenge to the agreement. And, if a court determines that your spouse was in the dark and didn’t understand the extent of the rights he or she was giving up, your agreement may well be declared invalid.
A well-drafted prenuptial agreement, signed by both partners after full financial disclosure and the help of experienced attorneys can be hard to invalidate, and can give you and your future spouse peace of mind.