Often couples may discuss or plan out a marriage before it happens, and some may even get to the point they want a formal contract, often called a prenuptial agreement. These are special contracts that must follow certain rules to carry any weight in a courtroom. If you’re not sure if a prenuptial agreement would make sense for your marriage, contact us to find out.
Here are a few things to consider when thinking about whether or not to prepare a prenuptial agreement:
1. Prenuptial agreements are never a sure thing
No matter what an agreement says or how it was made, no agreement is ever 100% reliable. There is always a chance a judge will refuse to enforce its terms simply because it is too unfair, what the law believes to be “unconscionable.”
It’s important to remember that family courts are still very much based on rules of general fairness and equity. A judge could review a prenuptial agreement at any time and decide not to follow its exact terms because it creates a situation that is too difficult for one spouse to bear.
2. There are rules you have to follow when making one
Prenuptial agreements also have to be made in a certain way. There are special rules one must follow, or courts might later refuse to enforce the agreement at all.
For example, both spouses must disclose their financial situations to each other when signing a prenuptial agreement. In addition, the agreement must have been made voluntarily by both spouses.
While an attorney is not required to draft a prenuptial agreement, we highly recommend hiring one, particularly to make it as strong as possible.
3. There are some limits on what a prenuptial agreement can cover
Many people are also unaware that certain issues can’t be decided or determined by a prenuptial agreement, no matter how much both spouses may want it. Child support, for example, can’t be set or limited beforehand by any agreement.
Similarly, child custody (in the event of a divorce) can’t be decided in any contract and must be addressed if and when the parents separate and can’t agree themselves.
4. The biggest issues often dealt with are finances and property
The most common things that prenuptial agreements are used for usually relate to the finances of the couple and what property they own. Some common legal issues that show up are:
- Identifying separate property
- Limiting creation of community property
- Limiting spousal support (in the event of divorce)
- Dividing or allocating a business
- Making financial disclosures and management decisions.
Thinking about having a prenuptial agreement?
To increase your chances of the agreement standing up in court, we highly recommend the assistance of an experienced attorney. Call our office today for a free consultation!
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