Prenuptial agreements done right: how to avoid having your agreement set aside
Many people think prenuptial agreements are easy and simple. People just want to keep separate what they already have. Because it seems so simple, many people, and some lawyers, do not take all steps to create a valid agreement. This could cost you the property you are trying to protect.
Hire an attorney with experience in drafting prenuptial agreementsThere are many family and divorce lawyers. Not all have experience preparing prenuptial agreements, or "prenups". Even a "simple" prenuptial agreement must be done right, or its not enforceable. It may be tempting to hire a lawyer who charges you a low rate or flat fee for the agreement, or even to do it on your own. Neither is a good idea. If the agreement is not done right, and you have not made the proper disclosures to each other, there is a good chance that your agreement is not enforceable. An unenforceable agreement is not worth the paper its written on. You may think that the house you owned before you got married or your bank accounts or other property are protected by this "simple" document, only to find out in the event of divorce that you have to split some or all of these assets with the other party. And all because the "simple" prenup for an affordable price just wasn't done right. If you are looking to do a prenup, then you have something of value to protect. Its worth the money to protect it.
Disclose all of your assets and incomeMany people skip this step, or do not know how to do it properly. This is one of the things that can get your agreement thrown out. It is very important that you disclose everything, including bank accounts and personal property. This step sometimes makes people uncomfortable, but it is necessary to make sure your prenup is not challenged later on.
Make sure your soon to be spouse hires a lawyer tooBoth parties to a prenup should have their own lawyers. The lawyers should meet with their clients separately and give them legal advice. Again, this is a step many people do not like. The goal here is not to keep secrets from each other- remember that you will be disclosing all of your assets to each other anyway. The important thing here is that you both read and understand the agreement, and that you also review it with a lawyer who can explain it to you and answer any questions you may have. Without doing this, there is a chance that your agreement is not enforceable. This is an important step, for the peace of mind of both parties and to make sure you have an enforceable agreement.