Creating a prenuptial agreement provides men and women getting married with asset protection in the event of a divorce. Without a prenuptial agreement, adults risk having to share certain financial assets that they accumulated in a sole business enterprise or may find themselves responsible for paying alimony. A person who is not sure of the costs associated with retaining a lawyer may be tempted to draft an agreement on his or her own. Unfortunately, the risks associated with a do-it-yourself prenuptial agreement far outweigh any of the perceived initial financial benefits.
One Provision Ruins Your Entire Agreement
In a moment of legal genius, a spouse may decide to include a provision in the agreement that protects him or her in the event of a certain scenario. These provisions are often focused on protecting certain assets or limiting the amount of alimony or other financial benefits one spouse may receive. Occasionally a person may decide to include a provision that allows them to divorce their spouse because of weight gain, a certain hair color, or another unusual thing. Once divorce proceedings begin, a person who has crafted his or her own agreement including unusual provisions that a court decides cannot be enforced may find themselves in a difficult legal position. Not only are the grounds for divorce destroyed, the court could find the entire prenuptial agreement invalid, stripping the party of all legal protection.
No One Talks to an Attorney, Making Your Agreement Invalid
A couple who is entering into a prenuptial agreement is always advised to each seek independent counsel before signing a legally binding document. When neither party talks to an attorney, the situation (and agreement) can quickly deteriorate in divorce court. Once in court, one party can state that he or she did not actually understand the agreement and claim that the spouse prepared it alone without his or her assistance. Suddenly a person who truly needed a prenuptial agreement could find themselves in the middle of a contentious divorce with an agreement that is deemed invalid.
Incomplete Disclosure Makes You Look Like a Liar
The most valuable thing to possess during any type of litigation is the trust of the Court. The instant that trust is broken, you and your legal counsel will find yourselves fighting an uphill battle because the judge hearing the case doubts everything that you say. During a divorce involving a prenuptial agreement, that is exactly what happens if you make incomplete financial disclosures in your original agreement. The purpose of the agreement is to create transparency in the process of protecting both parties. If you accidentally omit certain property, income, and other financial assets from the agreement because you did not know they should be included, it is likely that the judge (and your spouse) will believe you were trying to hide assets.
Any legal document that deals with the transfer or protection of a large sum of money should be prepared, or at least reviewed, by an attorney. Prenuptial agreement attorneys can explain what information must be included in the document and tell you what requests should be omitted to preserve the integrity of the agreement. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are ready to help you determine how to protect yourself from a future divorce Contact us today and schedule a private consultation at one of our four Atlanta, Georgia offices.