The decision to utilize prenuptial agreements has increased over the past few decades. With a growing number of adults launching businesses and becoming financially stable prior to marriage, divorce attorneys have noticed a 63% increase in the number of couples who have valid agreements. Couples who marry older, have a large amount of debt prior to marriage, and a growing number of blended families have all influenced the trend of people from all socioeconomic backgrounds using prenuptial agreements. Unfortunately, not every adult who signs a contract prior to marriage is actually protected legally. Tips for avoiding costly prenuptial agreement mistakes could protect you and your wealth in the future.
Make Sure Everyone has an Attorney
Prior to entering into a binding prenuptial contract both adults should have their own attorneys go over the agreement. Using the same attorney runs the risk of creating a conflict of interest that a spouse could later use to invalidate the agreement. It is in your best interest to help your fiancé retain his or her own attorney. Spending money on additional lawyer fees prior to marriage is better in the long run than using one attorney only to run into trouble enforcing the agreement if the marriage does not work out.
Understand Coercion and Duress
While many people understand that coercion is wrong and could invalidate an agreement, not everyone understands what is actually considered to be coercion. Some scenarios such as requiring a fiancé who is facing visa expiration to sign an agreement or leave the country are obvious. However, a situation where a spouse presenting the agreement a day or two before the wedding is to take place could also later seem like or coercion or duress. The embarrassment of calling off a wedding after family has arrived in town and all arrangements are finalized could cause a person to sign an agreement that he or she does not truly agree want. Have your agreement prepared and signed months prior to your wedding and never threaten to withhold anything if your fiancé is unwilling to sign.
Tell the Whole Truth
A prenuptial agreement is not only about protecting your assets; it is also a way for a couple to start out their marriage on honest financial ground. Each spouse must completely disclose their assets and income in the prenuptial agreement. Omitting certain items or undervaluing assets to protect them in the event of a future divorce is a form of fraud that could cost you dearly. Trying to keep your future spouse from knowing about a few assets is not worth risking having the entirety of your prenuptial agreement thrown out when you need it most.
Discuss Your Options
Once you have decided that a prenuptial agreement is something that will benefit you contact a qualified attorney. A prenuptial agreement attorney is able to discuss how you could potentially benefit and draft a contract on your behalf. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum know how important it is to protect yourself, your family, and your assets. Contact our conveniently located Atlanta metro area offices today to schedule a consultation.