Prenuptial agreements are not always enforceable, but that doesn’t mean you should enter into an agreement assuming you can break it. While a prenup can be strong and well-drafted, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be challenged in court. The law is straightforward regarding prenuptial agreements. The law is written to protect both spouses, and if a prenuptial agreement is determined by a judge to be one-sided, that alone can be a reason to have it thrown out. It’s important to find an attorney who can help you make the right choices regarding drafting a prenuptial agreement or signing one presented by your intended spouse.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
Understanding what a prenuptial agreement is and is not can help ensure you make well-informed choices. Prenuptial agreements are contracts outlining how marital property and assets will be treated in the event a marriage ends in divorce. When a couple amasses marital assets like real estate, retirement accounts, and other investments, it’s important to have clarification regarding what is shared and what is not.
A prenup should follow the basic tenets of contract legality:
- Written and signed by both parties
- Signed by a capable legal adult
- Signors cannot be minors, mentally ill persons, or mentally disabled persons.
- Only signed by those eligible for marriage
4 Tips to Create an Ironclad Prenup
Ironclad prenups are something of a myth, but you can work with your attorney to create a fair prenuptial agreement. If a couple decides to divorce, the court will not invalidate your prenup without cause.
So, here are four tips for creating a well-drafted prenuptial agreement:
Provide a Thorough and Complete Financial Disclosure: If your financial documentation is incomplete or lacking in transparency, you could slow down the process or end up with an easily voided prenuptial agreement. An incomplete disclosure can be interpreted as fraudulent, so if you have quite a few assets, you will need statements, policies, and titles for everything. Start early or hire a professional to help you create a full and completely honest disclosure.
Clarity is Key: The purpose of a prenup is to specifically outline how particular assets will be treated in the event a couple files for a divorce. If the prenuptial agreement doesn’t make the treatment of assets clear, then it’s not as effective as it could be, which leaves the prenuptial agreement open to challenges.
Don’t Forget About Timing: A legal document should be drafted with time for all parties to make changes and negotiate from a place of consent. The party responsible for drafting the prenuptial agreement must ensure the other party has ample time to review it before the wedding. They should never feel coerced or threatened, so leave yourselves plenty of time to work through any issues with the prenuptial agreement.
Off-Limit Issues: There are issues that cannot be negotiated in a prenuptial agreement. Issues like appearance requirements or custody of future children are not allowed in your agreement and will leave it open to challenges and invalidation.
The Law Office of Mark R. Hinshaw
A prenuptial agreement is a useful legal instrument, and it can help you and your intended clarify financial issues before marriage. If you need assistance drafting a clear and concise prenup, The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLC, we can help you draft a thorough and complete prenuptial agreement. If you have specific questions regarding creating a prenuptial agreement before your wedding, you will need to consult an Iowa family law attorney. Call us today at (515) 200-7571 or contact us online now for information or to schedule an appointment.