Welcome to the digital age where you can get a prenup and have it notarized in just a few hours, all without leaving the comfort of your own home. Netflix and chill? More like notarize and chill! Prenups and notarization go together like PB&J. Notarization verifies the parties’ signatures and ensures they are signing the agreement willingly. Okay, enough with the puns, let’s get into the details of prenups and online notaries.
What is a prenup and how do they work?
A prenup (short for prenuptial agreement) is a contract made between two individuals who plan to get married. A prenup is only effective upon marriage (if you never get married, it’s a useless document). Prenups can outline how you want to divide up your current and future assets and debt in the event of a divorce, and sometimes death. You may also include other topics such as insurance, taxes, budgets, pets, and more. Prenups cannot determine matters involving child support or custody.
To get a valid and enforceable prenup, you need to abide by the laws in your state. Every state has different requirements for what is considered a valid and enforceable agreement. What could be considered an enforceable prenup in Minnesota may not be enforceable in California. Some common requirements may include putting the prenup in writing, signatures, and notarization.
If you ever get a divorce, you have three options in enforcing your prenup: (1) you can privately agree to the terms with your partner without legal intervention; (2) if one of you disagrees with the terms, you can have your lawyers negotiate on your behalf; or (3) you can litigate the prenup (this is extremely costly and time consuming).
What is an online notary?
An online notary is a service that authenticates signatures to a document by virtually watching the parties sign the document with a webcam. An in-person notary does the same thing, they just watch you in-person sign the agreement. Getting a document notarized is a way to verify that you are who you say you are and you willingly signed the document (i.e., you weren’t forced to sign the document with a gun to your head or you weren’t impaired in some way).
The role of notarization in prenuptial agreements
Why do you need to get your prenup notarized? Well, some states explicitly require you to get your prenup notarized, otherwise it’s not considered a valid contract. Some of those states that explicitly require notarization include Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, Tennessee, and more. Even in those states that do not require notarization, HelloPrenup recommends notarization anyways. It’s an extra layer of protection that is made cheap and easy, especially with online notaries like NotaryLive. A court typically looks at notarization as one way to show that the people that signed the contract were actually who they said they were and willingly signed the contract.
The step-by-step prenup process with an online notary
So, how do you go about getting a prenup with an online notary? It’s quite simple. We break it down for you step-by-step below:
Step 1: Research and preparation for prenup
Before getting a prenup, we recommend doing a little research into what you want to put in your agreement. Do you want to keep your stuff separate? What about future inheritances? Future income? How about insurance? Preparing for the prenup process will make it all the more smooth.
Step 2: Draft the agreement
Whether you are going the traditional route of hiring an attorney or using HelloPrenup, it’s time to get the prenup drafting process started. In either option, you will learn about your options and negotiate the terms with your partner to create an agreement you both feel happy with.
Step 3: Get the contract notarized online with NotaryLive
Once your prenup is all done, you’ll want to get it signed in front of a notary. Again, some states don’t explicitly require this, but we recommend doing it anyway, as it adds an extra layer of protection to your prenup. This entails going to NotaryLive.com and following the prompts to get your prenup notarized.
Your session with NotaryLive will include:
- Verifying your identity
- Connecting with an online notary
- Receiving an official notary seal on your prenup
- Downloading the notarized prenup
Step 4: Save three originals and one digital
There’s typically no need to file your notarized prenup anywhere. Many people mistakenly think they need to now file their prenup to make it valid, but that’s not true. All you need to do is save three original, notarized copies and one digital. For the three originals, give one to your partner, keep one for yourself, and store one in a joint location. We also recommend keeping your digital version in multiple places so that it won’t get accidentally deleted.
The Bottom Line
While some states don’t require you to get your prenup notarized, we highly recommend doing so anyway, and we know many prenup lawyers would agree. It can never hurt you, it can only support your prenup and add a layer of protection should your prenup ever be challenged down the road. Plus, getting your prenup notarized is easy peasy with NotaryLive. You can do it all online, within a matter of minutes, all from the comfort of your own home!
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]