The evening was exactly how you always dreamed it would be. You had hoped your significant other would propose marriage on a warm summer night at a fancy restaurant. Dinner felt magical as you both sat on cushy chairs, drinking glasses of your favorite wines with a tasty dinner. Gleaming candles atop a crisp, white tablecloth reflected on the nearby water. As attentive waiters served dessert, your soon-to-be spouse gave you the ring you had been eyeing. It was a special evening you will never forget.
The next day, your fiancé called with a somewhat less romantic proposal: that a Prenuptial Agreement is needed to be signed before you got married.
So, what do you need to consider for a Prenuptial Agreement? Most states require the Prenuptial Agreement to be in writing and for both individuals to retain separate legal counsel and to fully disclose their financial assets and liabilities. In order to reach an agreement, you could use mediation, collaborative law or traditional negotiation.
So what are 10 things to consider before signing a Prenuptial Agreement?
Don’t get advice from a friend who just obtained a prenuptial agreement as everyone’s situation is different. Money spent on a good attorney is an investment in your future.
a. Gather up your most recent financial records for your stocks, bonds, annuity funds, bank statements, retirement accounts, the appraisal for your home, car, boat and any other costly assets, a couple of years of your tax returns and recent pay stubs. You will need to exchange this asset information with your soon-to-be spouse. In addition, you will have to create a list of your assets on a “Schedule” to attach to the Prenuptial Agreement. It will be helpful to gather such information to create a current and accurate Schedule.
b. Get all of your statements of liabilities such as credit card debt, mortgage, home equity line, student loans such as for trade school, college or graduate school, personal loans owed to family or friends, auto loan and other debt. Make a list of your liabilities for your Schedule.
To sum, make sure you get good legal advice from a competent attorney, consider what is the best process for you such as using mediation, collaborative law or traditional negotiation in creating a Prenuptial Agreement, make sure you have full disclosure of your assets and liabilities and have it signed in plenty of time which is at least 30 days before the wedding day. Hopefully, you will never need to use the Prenuptial Agreement, but if you do, you will have it in case the marriage does break down.
An excellent resource is “Prenups and the Elephant in the Room, A Handbook for the Prenup Process” by Deborah Hope Wayne, Esq. which can be obtained at www.deborahwaynelaw.com or www.amazon.com.
This article is not meant to provide legal advice, but is for informational purposes only.
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