Here is a closer look at the prenuptial agreement process and how it will legally affect a couple.
Start Planning Early
It is important to start this process as early as possible, preferably when marriage is first being discussed. Primarily, this will allow both parties to fully explore their options, find a family attorney, collect information, and come to terms with one of these legal documents. In the most extreme situations, those who fail to file their agreement until just before the wedding may void it entirely if the judge believes that either party was under duress immediately before the ceremony.
In order for a prenuptial agreement to be legally binding, every single asset must be disclosed by both parties. The most common assets include insurance policies, vehicles, homes, and any forms of investment. If either party is found to be lying about assets and the prenuptial agreement is used in court after a divorce, the document may be deemed null and void.
In addition to assets, the couple must also fully disclose all debt that they will be entering into the marriage with. While there may be stipulations on what will become shared debt, it is important to remain as honest as possible when listing debts and assets. The most common forms of debt that may need to be added to these documents include student loans, mortgages, car loans, medical bills, and credit card debt.
Contact an Attorney
After the initial discussion and research has taken place, a couple will want to speak with an attorney in order to streamline this process and ensure that it is legally binding. Couples can either choose separate lawyers or share a lawyer, but it is important that the document is thoroughly reviewed by a legal professional. The attorney will also help with finding a notary, filing the paperwork in the proper timeframe, and safe storing the document.
What Goes into the Agreement
Most prenuptial agreements are fiscal in nature, but there may also be a number of other stipulations. What couples should realize, however, is that odd requests on the document may seem suspicious to the judge who has the ability to void the legal document for reasons such as duress or a failure to disclose information. Nonfinancial issues that could be outlined in the agreement include the baptism of a child or the passing on of family heirlooms after a death.
From the moment that a marriage is discussed, it is important to consider a prenuptial agreement. These documents are the best way to legally protect your assets in the event of a divorce and move through the process as quickly as possible.