If you’ve perused our site at all, I’m sure you’ve stumbled upon at least a couple of mentions of financial disclosures. Not only that, but you may have also noticed we *really* stress their importance. So why are we so crazy about financial disclosures? Let’s explore the importance of these documents to find out.
Everyone who enters into a prenuptial agreement does so with the intention that the agreement will hold up over time and be enforceable in the event of divorce. Otherwise, why bother? Your financial disclosure has an enormous effect on the enforceability of your prenup down the road. This is because a prenup is a binding legal contract in which future spouses have the ability to waive their legal rights. In some cases, spouses may be waiving their entitlement to a share of millions of dollars. These decisions need to be fully informed. Enter the financial disclosure! Financial disclosures are intended to fully apprise the other spouse of their financial status – both good and bad.
Additionally, while prenups are legal contracts, they feel slightly different. That is due in part to the close nature of the parties entering into the agreement. This is not traditionally a situation where parties are dealing with each other at arm’s length. The nature of the relationship of the parties, often referred to by courts as confidential relationships, lends itself to financial transparency. Aside from the legal requirements, it’s not a bad idea to get on the same page with your partner financially before walking down the aisle!
What should you include in your financial disclosure?
- Real estate
- Bank accounts
- Investment accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Business interests
Levels of disclosure
While states differ with their prenup requirements, some form of financial disclosure is almost universally required. The level of disclosure varies state by state and in some states, waiver of the requirement is permissible (waivers often come with their own set of requirements).
So, generally, how much detail is required? In most cases, future spouses should disclose the nature, extent, and value of their property and assets. While we really stress thorough disclosure, providing a detailed itemization of your assets that is 100% minutely accurate is not generally necessary. It just needs to be sufficiently precise (i.e. precise enough to fully inform the spouse as to the rights they are giving up).
There are some exceptions to the financial disclosure requirements which vary by state. For example, in many states, including Mississippi and Wisconsin, if one of the spouses has independent knowledge of the other spouse’s assets, that satisfies the financial disclosure requirement. (Check out examples here and here).
Remember, requirements for financial disclosure vary widely by state so be sure to check out the requirements for your specific state before filling out your financial disclosure!
So what happens if you don’t adequately disclose your finances?
If you drop the ball with your financial disclosure, this could leave your prenup vulnerable to invalidity down the road. In the event of divorce, if your financial disclosure was subpar, your spouse may raise this as a bar to enforcement of your agreement. Depending on your state, the entire prenup could be thrown out and you’ll be back to square one with your property and assets. Yikes!
We can’t stress this enough: no matter what level of disclosure your state requires, it’s always better to be on the safe side and fully disclose your financial status to your partner. When your property and assets are at risk, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. HelloPrenup, LLC (“HelloPrenup”) makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site. HelloPrenup will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice. HelloPrenup provides a platform for contract related self-help. The information provided by HelloPrenup along with the content on our website related to legal matters (“Information”) is provided for your private use and does not constitute legal advice. We do not review any information you provide us for legal accuracy or sufficiency, draw legal conclusions, provide opinions about your selection of forms, or apply the law to the facts of your situation. If you need legal advice for a specific problem, you should consult with a licensed attorney. Neither HelloPrenup nor any information provided by Hello Prenup is a substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed to practice in an appropriate jurisdiction.
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected]