Imagine you are buying a new car. You find the one you love, put down a down payment, and sign the paperwork. But when the time comes to drive it off the lot, you learn that a mistake was made and you actually bought a different, more expensive car.
This can be a similar experience to having an invalid prenuptial agreement. While you might think you are taking the right steps to protect yourself and get what you want, you could wind up making mistakes that make the agreement unenforceable, leaving you exposed to unfortunate – and costly – outcomes. To avoid this, it is important to avoid the following common mistakes that make a prenuptial agreement invalid.
- Not signing it in time – By definition, a prenuptial agreement must be signed before a wedding. However, signing it in the hours, days or even weeks before the ceremony may not be good enough, as that could open the door for allegations that a party was coerced into signing it. After all, you or your partner might feel as if there is no choice but sign when your wedding is just around the corner.
- Not having an attorney review the agreement – Not only must parties have time to review a prenuptial agreement, they must also have legal representation. While there are exceptions, parties should have independent counsel before signing a prenup. It is a legal contract and an attorney can help individuals understand what they are signing and ensure the signing is voluntary.
- Including unenforceable clauses – You cannot include just anything in a prenup; illegal or unenforceable provisions can make all or part of a prenup invalid. These clauses can include child support provisions, lifestyle clauses and any illegal act.
- Leaving information out of it – If you leave information out of a prenup, intentionally or not, the courts could set the agreement aside. Full disclosure, specificity and honesty are crucial to ensuring a prenuptial agreement is effective.
Avoiding these and other common missteps when signing a prenup is crucial. Taking the time to do things properly from the beginning can ensure you have the protection you expect.