Protect Your Marriage and Your Future With a Prenuptial Agreement

Many people associated prenuptial agreements with movie stars and the very wealthy, but prenuptial agreements aren’t only for the rich and famous.  Many couples use prenuptial agreements to protect their assets for their children and to make sure that a plan is in place in case the worst should happen.

A prenuptial agreement or “prenup” is an agreement between potential spouses made in preparation for a marriage. Each couple’s prenuptial agreement is unique; however it is common for the agreement to include provisions for the division of business assets, homes, investments, inheritances, property, child support and spousal support in the event of a divorce or a spouse’s death.  However, prenuptial agreements can also be used to protect assets for a child from a former marriage or to protect a new spouse from existing debt.

Creating a Prenuptial Agreement

In order for a prenuptial agreement to be deemed legally valid, it must meet specific criteria. A prenuptial agreement must be documented in writing and must include a statement of each spouse’s assets and liabilities prior to the marriage. The agreement must be signed in writing by each spouse, or it will be considered invalid and unenforceable. The agreement should be finalized and reviewed by an attorney before the wedding date.

A premarital agreement becomes effective as soon as you and your spouse are legally married.

Changing a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement can be changed. Once you and your spouse are lawfully married, you may amend your prenuptial agreement if both spouses agree to the changes. Many couples choose to modify prenuptial agreements after they have been married for specified length of time.

Challenging a Prenuptial Agreement

When you agreed to marry, you dreamed it would last forever. The possibility of divorce never entered your mind. Now that your marriage is ending, you have found that the prenuptial agreement you signed could mean that you and your children will be left without assets. A prenuptial agreement may be declared invalid if:

  1. A spouse was coerced or otherwise unwillingly entered into the agreement.
  2. The agreement was unjust at the time the enforcement was sought.
  3. A spouse was not provided with a full and fair disclosure of the earnings, property and financial obligations of the other spouse or did not have knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other spouse.
  4. The spouse did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, the right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party.
  5. The spouse did not consult with his or her own lawyer, and did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, the opportunity to consult with an independent attorney.
  6. The marriage is found fraudulent or void.

Not sure if a prenuptial agreement is right for you? Please contact Melinda M. Previtera, Attorney at Law at (856) 942-0150. Melinda M. Previtera will answer your questions and help you determine if a prenuptial agreement is right for you.