Drafting a Prenuptial Agreement

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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While you may be able to find standard form contracts that help you to create prenuptiall agreements from various sources, generally using such a standard form agreement is not a wise idea. Prenuptial agreements are often challenged later in court, and they must meet a number of different criteria in order to be legally valid. Further, each state has different laws for prenups and the “standard” or “stock” forms some sources provide may not actually adhere to the laws where you live. In addition, since every couple is different and has different needs when it comes to what a pre-marital agreement must include, using a standard form agreement may not end up accomplishing your goal of protecting your interests in the event of a divorce.

Drafting a Pre-Nuptial Agreement

While every state has some different rules when it comes to prenups, there are a few key things to remember:

  • The contract must be in writing to be enforced.
  • The couple must fully disclose all details about income and assets before a prenup is signed. Waiver of full disclosure may be available in certain instances, but it usually must be informed waiver (i.e. the person must know he is waiving his legal rights to the information).
  • The contract usually needs to be witnessed by independent witnesses.
  • Each party must be given time to review the agreement before signing and to get legal advice if so desired.
  • Neither party can be made to sign the agreement by force, threat or duress.

There may also be certain clauses that should be included, or that cannot be included, depending on the situation.

Getting Help with Pre-Marital Agreements

When you enter into a premarital agreement, you do so to protect yourself. You thus need to make sure you are actually getting that protection. Using a standard form contract is not going to provide you with any guarantees that the agreement is valid. Instead, consult with a lawyer who is familiar with the rules of your state and who has the legal knowhow to help you make an agreement that will be enforceable, should such enforcement ever become necessary down the line.

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