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...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Feb 10, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

Prenuptial agreements will be valid if properly prepared according to the laws of your state. Two parties may contract on any terms that they wish, and the court will enforce it as long as the contract is not an illegal one and does not go against public policy. A prenuptial agreement is simply a contract made in consideration of marriage, and the courts are thus going to enforce it if it is fair and you follow the rules when making it.

Requirements for a Prenuptial Agreement

In every state, there are certain requirements for a prenuptial agreement to be valid. Some of these requirements are common to all jurisdictions and some are state specific, so you will want to check the laws where you live. However, some common requirements include:

  • The contract must be in writing. If you make an oral agreement with your future spouse, courts aren’t going to enforce it.
  • The contract must not be signed under duress.
  • The parties must have time to consider the contract and, if they wish, to have an attorney look it over.
  • The parties must enter into the contract knowingly. Usually, this means that there must either be full disclosure of assets and liabilities before entering into the contract, or the parties may waive full disclosure.

There may also be a requirement that the prenuptial agreement be witnessed, or even filed with the proper legal authorities. You should always check with the laws of your state to create a valid agreement.

There may also be limitations on what you can include in the agreement. For example, most states will not enforce a prenup that waives a child’s right to support, since that is a right that belongs to the child, not the parents, and since in any case an agreement to waive child support would be against public policy.

Getting Help – Prenuptial Agreements

To make sure your prenuptial agreement will protect your assets and be enforceable by a court, it is in your best interests to speak with a lawyer and get professional help in drafting it.