The Benefits Of Having A Lawyer For A Prenup

Feb 12, 2023 | Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers, Prenuptial Agreements, Second Marriages

Some people mistakenly believe that prenuptial agreements are only beneficial for the rich and famous. Wrong! They also help regular people, like you and me, keep property, income and even debt separate during marriage and in the event of a divorce. Like a prenuptial agreement, that is a private contract, a marriage is also a legal (and emotional!) contract between two people. 

Did you know that as a married couple, your property rights are governed by the state law of your home state? The purpose of a prenuptial agreement, also called a premarital agreement, is to allow you and your honey to determine the terms of your property rights during their marriage and in the event of a divorce. 

We get this question a lot- do you need to hire an attorney for a prenuptial agreement? Let’s discuss.

The Benefits of Having a Lawyer

If you have a prenup lawyer by your side, it can make all the difference in understanding the terms of your agreement. An attorney can review prenuptial agreements to avoid a court declaring them invalid. It is generally advisable for each party to have their attorney review a prenuptial agreement before signing it. Prenuptial agreements signed by parties who do not have independent legal representation may be more challenging to enforce in court.

In addition, there are specific terms that may be tempting to include in your prenuptial agreement that shouldn’t be. Experienced attorneys know which words are prohibited from inclusion in prenups and can help you avoid this. 

While each state has different laws, generally, a prenuptial agreement cannot include:

  • Dispositions that violate public policy. A judge will not enforce provisions that waive future child support, limit future custody or visitation rights, or use financial incentives to encourage divorce.
  • Non-monetary provisions. The court may not enforce non-monetary provisions and may even invalidate the entire prenup if it includes these items. Example: How many children will the couple have, which children will do chores, etc.

Additionally, states usually impose strict time limits on the execution of prenuptial agreements. For example, you might have to sign the prenup a certain number of days before the wedding. Alternatively, you may have to allow a certain amount of time for all parties to review it before signing. Having a prenup lawyer makes the process easier since they can ensure you meet all the procedural requirements.

Furthermore, each state has its guidelines for prenuptial agreements. Hiring an attorney can be beneficial if you are unfamiliar with state law or need help interpreting the rules. In some states, it’s actually required for one or both members of the couple to retain attorneys to review the prenuptial agreement before filing.

You May Choose to Draft Your Own Prenuptial Agreement

If you’re still considering drafting your own prenuptial agreement, you must know what information to include. Each prenuptial agreement should be specific to the couple. As there is no one-size-fits-all contract, you’ll need to consider your financial and social situation before drafting it. 

In the chance that you should divorce your (soon-to-be) spouse, you can include standard terms that outline dividing your assets, wealth, and debt. In the case of a separation, you can also choose who will keep the pet. 

Some couples in today’s internet-driven world choose to include a provision that prevents either spouse from sharing intimate details of the divorce or posting defamatory remarks about the other on social media.

You might want to include the following terms in your prenuptial agreement:

  • Divorce through alternative dispute resolution (mediation)
  • How will you handle retirement assets and business assets?
  • How one spouse will continue to live in the marital home, and if so, who will be responsible for taxes, insurance, and mortgage payments
  • If either spouse is responsible for the student loans of the other
  • Separate marital property from separate property

Depending on your state, you can also find resources for online prenups, which help identify local laws regarding prenuptial agreements, as well as helpful templates for drafting your own.

Don’t Sign the Dotted Line Until You Consult a Prenup Lawyer

It can be easy to keep your head in the clouds when you’re planning a wedding. You may question whether you need the agreement at all while remaining confident that you can draft the prenuptial agreement yourself. 

However, you probably aren’t familiar with family or prenuptial law and probably have many questions regarding the state laws and different terms you will encounter. It is also essential to verify that the agreement is valid. 

Having your prenuptial agreement reviewed and advice provided by an experienced family law attorney will protect your interests. In the long run, you can save time if you hire an attorney. Contact us for more information on prenuptial agreements, how to draft one, and more.

You are writing your life story. Get on the same page with a prenup. For love that lasts a lifetime, preparation is key. Safeguard your shared tomorrows, starting today.
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