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Check for these mistakes before signing a prenuptial agreement

Money remains an uncomfortable topic for many couples, especially prior to marriage. Even so, you may have mustered the courage to ask your beloved to sign a prenuptial agreement. Broaching this topic feels awkward for many people, since few things could be less romantic during the planning of a wedding.

Nevertheless, you feel that taking this step is an important one that will best serve you and your soon-to-be spouse. You may find it surprising that he or she agreed to enter into such an agreement despite the erroneous belief that doing so means you don't think the marriage will work. In reality, you may believe that your marriage will last forever but want to be prepared in the event that it does not.

Why sign a prenup?

If either of you comes to the marriage with assets or debts, children or a business, you may need a prenup. These documents identify the separate property of each of you. This protects those assets in the event of a divorce or death. Assets intended for children from a prior relationship may need identification in order to protect your children's right to their inheritances. Your rights to your business may also receive protection.

As for debts each of you may bring to the marriage, you may wish to stipulate that each party remains responsible for hos or her own debts in the event of a divorce. This may protect you from paying your spouse in an attempt to hold you responsible for his or her debts later.

Ensuring the validity of your prenup

After spending time away from planning your wedding and honeymoon to negotiate a prenuptial agreement, you probably want to ensure its validity if it's needed in the future. You can help do this by avoiding the following mistakes:

  • The provisions put one party at an unfair advantage financially
  • The agreement wasn't put into writing
  • Neither of you consulted with an attorney prior to signing
  • The agreement wasn't properly executed
  • You didn't provide full disclosure of your financial affairs
  • You weren't truthful about your financial affairs
  • You felt pressured into signing the agreement
  • Certain provisions violate current law or public policy
  • You failed to read the agreement
  • There wasn't sufficient time to consider the provisions of the agreement

Any of these failings could cause a California court to invalidate your prenuptial agreement. This would mean that you and your spouse would have to start over when it comes to dividing your property in a divorce. If that happens, you could face a contentious, expensive and time-consuming divorce. It may be in your best interest to obtain assistance and guidance when creating your prenuptial agreement to avoid these issues.

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