Mistakes to avoid when drafting a prenuptial agreement

We've previously discussed in this blog the many benefits and uses of prenuptial agreements. When a couple who has a prenuptial agreement decides to divorce, it's expected that those provisions laid out in a prenup will be upheld. There are, however, some mistakes that, if made, can render a prenuptial agreement null and void and end up costing a divorcing individuals big time.

Perhaps the biggest mistake an individual who plans to marry can make with regard to a prenuptial agreement is failing to secure separate and independent legal counsel. It's critical that each individual has their own attorney review a prenuptial agreement prior to saying I do. Failing to do so may result in one or more of the following mistakes being made that could result in a prenup being disregarded by a court.

Make sure an individual is of sound mind and body when signing a prenuptial agreement. Deciding to present a soon-to-be wife or husband with a prenup after an evening of drinking may be grounds for nullifying the document altogether. Likewise, make sure an individual has ample time prior to the wedding date to review the document and its contents. Asking someone to sign a prenup mere days before a wedding could result in the document being voided.

It's also extremely important that both parties are 100 percent truthful when drafting a prenuptial agreement. Failing to account for or include mention of certain known assets is viewed as being deceitful and often invalidates the entire agreement. Additionally, it's wise to only include provisions in a prenup that are considered to be typical. For example, the inclusion of odd requirements related to a spouse's appearance or weight may be considered unenforceable and compromise the integrity of the entire document.

New York residents who are planning to marry would be wise to discuss the benefits of a prenuptial agreement with an attorney. A divorce attorney can help ensure an individual’s best interests are protected should a marriage eventually end.

Source: The Huffington Post, "10 Common Prenup Pitfalls," David Centeno, Nov. 4, 2013

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