Prenuptial Agreement Mistakes that You Need to Avoid
A recent survey from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that prenuptial agreements are becoming more prevalent. Nearly two thirds of divorce attorneys said that more people are asking them to help draft these agreements. This may be a good decision, because 15% of divorcees said they regret not having a prenuptial agreement in place.
However, a prenup is also useless if it isnâ€™t drafted properly. You will want to be aware of common mistakes so that the contract will hold up if you ever end up in divorce court. Here are some common problems that you need to look out for.
Failure to Properly Disclose Assets
Both parties are legally required to disclose all of their assets before signing a prenuptial agreement. Unfortunately, some people donâ€™t fully disclose all of their assets before the agreement s drafted. A judge will probably find the agreement void if it has to go to court.
Some people deliberately try to hide their assets (such as using overseas bank accounts), while others honestly donâ€™t understand which assets need to be reported. The reason that assets werenâ€™t properly disclosed is irrelevant. You want to make sure that they are all properly listed so that your agreement will hold up if you go to court.
Lack of Consent
Both parties need to sign the prenup under their own free will. The agreement will be nullified if a judge feels that either was coerced into signing it.
Different states have different rules regarding coercion. You will want to make sure that it is clear that your partner entered into the contract under their own volition if it ever needs to go to court.
You want to make sure that all provisions in your contract will comply with the law. Some states donâ€™t recognize prenups that state that neither spouse will be eligible for alimony. Prenuptial agreements also generally canâ€™t stipulate that the spouse with custody of children canâ€™t receive child support, because the law is biased in the best interest of the child.
The prenup should also focus primarily on limiting financial and legal liabilities after a divorce. Some people have tried to have contracts that required their spouse to have sex with them a minimum number of times a week. Such contracts are highly unlikely to be upheld by any court in the country.
The court may decide that certain provisions are invalid and uphold the rest of the contract. The judge could also throw the entire contract out if it looked like it was unfairly biased towards one party. The safest approach is to make sure that all parts of it pass the legal sniff test beforehand.
About the author: Michael Adams has just passed his LSAT test and plans to start law school in Chicago next semester. He refers people to exceptional lawyers when they need a new contract written up. Michael encourages people to contact Conniff Law Offices.