It is hardly uncommon for a couple who is about to get married to spend weeks and months planning a perfect wedding day. Music, flowers, decorations, dresses, food, and dozens of other considerations are often set months in advance. Too often, however, that same couple will spend considerably less time and energy preparing for the marriage itself. Even partners who decide that a prenuptial agreement is appropriate for their situation often wait too long and are then forced to rush one spouse or the other into signing the agreement. Such pressure is not only unhealthy but can also lead to future problems in enforcing the agreement should the need ever arise.
Marriage, in the eyes of the law, is a legally binding contract between two consenting individuals that affords each party certain rights and responsibilities. A prenuptial agreement is very similar, in that it represents a contract between two parties, outlining property rights and other considerations to become effective in the event of a divorce or another designated precipitating event, such as infidelity or the death of one party. As such, a binding contract deserves careful consideration, not just casual approval of its terms.
Pressure to Sign
Before you or your future spouse sign any type of prenuptial agreement, it is very important to know exactly what you are signing. Handing your partner a contract the day before your wedding is not only unfair to him or her, but it also can make him or her feel like there is no alternative. In such a scenario, there would not be any opportunity for negotiation or discussion. Additionally, a court may find the agreement invalid for that very reason. A prenuptial agreement should be the result of cooperation and mutual understanding, not a one-sided list of expectations.
Time to Review the Details
As you prepare your prenuptial agreement, begin the process well in advance of your actual wedding. While you do not necessarily need to have a lawyer in the room every time you discuss the agreement, each of you should work with your own qualified attorney along the way to ensure that all of the agreement’s terms are reasonable and enforceable. You and your partner cannot use the same attorney since officially representing or advising both parties creates a conflict of interest for the lawyer.
Take the necessary time to review the agreement carefully, being sure that you are willing to voluntarily accept its terms. If there is an item that looks questionable, challenge it. Discuss the matter with your partner and revise the language until you are both comfortable. Do not sign the agreement until you are fully convinced—and reassured by your lawyer—that full disclosure of your partner’s assets and liabilities has been made and that everything else is in order. In addition to creating a stronger prenuptial agreement, the process can also contribute toward a more trusting relationship between you and your spouse.
Prenuptial Agreement Assistance
If you are preparing for marriage and believe that a prenuptial agreement would help promote your best interests, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. We can help you draft an agreement that will withstand virtually any legal challenge while protecting your rights. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation today.