Prenuptial agreements, also known as premarital agreements or “prenups,” are becoming increasingly common today.
These agreements are legally binding contracts created before a couple gets married and outline how assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce.
While prenups can be a great way to protect your assets and provide peace of mind, there are certain mistakes that people often make when creating them.
Waiting to the Last Minute to Create a Prenup
One of the most common mistakes people make when creating a prenuptial agreement is waiting until the last minute.
This can be a problem for several reasons. For one, it can put a lot of pressure on the couple to quickly come up with an agreement that is fair and reasonable.
Additionally, it can make it more difficult to negotiate the terms of the agreement because one or both parties may feel rushed or pressured. To avoid this, it’s best to start thinking about creating a prenuptial agreement well before the wedding date.
Failing to Disclose all Financial Assets
Another mistake people often make when creating a prenuptial agreement is failing to disclose all of their financial assets.
This can be a major problem because if one party fails to disclose all their assets, the agreement can be unenforceable. For a prenuptial agreement to be enforced, the prenup must include a fair and complete disclosure of all assets by both parties.
Additionally, if one party later discovers that the other party had assets that were not disclosed, it can lead to mistrust and resentment.
To avoid this, both parties must be completely transparent and honest about their financial assets when creating a prenuptial agreement.
Not Seeking the Advice of a Lawyer
Many people make the mistake of not seeking the advice of a lawyer when creating a prenuptial agreement. This can be a big mistake because a lawyer can help ensure that the agreement is legally sound and meets all the requirements for it to be enforceable. The laws for prenuptial agreements vary from state to state. It would be wise to consult a family law attorney in your jurisdiction to ensure your agreement will be enforceable.
Additionally, a lawyer can help advise the couple on what terms to include in the agreement and what to avoid. To ensure that your prenuptial agreement is legally enforceable, it’s important to seek the advice of a lawyer.
Coercing Your Partner Into Signing the Prenup
Another common mistake that people make is coercing their partner into signing the prenuptial agreement. This can include pressure, manipulation, or the threat of not getting married.
This can not only be unfair and unethical, but it can also make the agreement unenforceable. Prenuptial agreements are voluntarily made and should be entered into freely and willingly by both parties.
Including Terms that Are Unenforceable or “Unconscionable”
Many people make the mistake of including terms in a prenuptial agreement that are unenforceable or “unconscionable.” This can include terms that are illegal, immoral, or that would cause undue hardship for one party.
Additionally, it may include one-sided terms and heavily favor one party over the other. The court will not uphold such terms, and the agreement will be deemed unenforceable.
Attempting to Include Child Custody and Child Support
Another mistake that people often make when creating a prenuptial agreement is attempting to include child custody and child support. This is not allowed as it is not legally binding, and the court will not enforce them.
The court determines child custody and child support based on the child’s best interest and cannot be waived or agreed upon by the parents.
Waiving Alimony or Marital Support
Many people make the mistake of waiving alimony or marital support in their prenuptial agreement. This can be a big mistake because alimony and marital support are designed to help one party maintain their standard of living after a divorce.
Additionally, waiving alimony or marital support in a prenuptial agreement can be seen as one-sided and can make the agreement unenforceable.
Instead, it’s best to include language that allows for a fair and reasonable determination of alimony or marital support in the event of a divorce.
Letting Your Emotions Get the Best of You
Creating a prenuptial agreement can be emotional, but keeping your emotions in check when making important decisions is important.
Many people make the mistake of letting their emotions get the best of them and making decisions that are not in their best interests. It’s important to remain calm and rational when creating a prenuptial agreement and to consider the long-term ramifications of your decisions.
Thinking Prenuptial Agreements are only for the Rich
Another common mistake is thinking that prenuptial agreements are only for the rich. While prenuptial agreements are often associated with high-net-worth individuals, they can benefit anyone with assets or debts they want to protect in the event of a divorce.
Additionally, prenuptial agreements can be especially important for those who have been through a divorce before or those who have children from a previous relationship.
We have written extensively on this issue. To learn more, you will not want to miss this article.
Signing a Prenuptial Agreement You are Not Comfortable With
Finally, many people make the mistake of signing a prenuptial agreement that they are not comfortable with. This can be a big mistake because a prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract that can significantly impact your life in the event of a divorce.
It’s important to ensure that you fully understand the terms of the agreement and that you are comfortable with them before signing.
Prenuptial agreements can be a great way to protect your assets and provide peace of mind, but it’s important to avoid common mistakes when creating them.
By avoiding mistakes, you can ensure that your prenuptial agreement is fair, reasonable, and legally sound.
What to Read Next
If you’re considering creating a prenuptial agreement, it’s important to read up on the topic and learn as much as possible. Some resources that can be helpful include the following: