Before you are ready to get a prenup, there is a fair bit of information you want to gather, and decisions you need to make. Here are some important points to consider when going through this process:
1. Timing – You do not want to leave preparation of your prenuptial agreement to the last minute. A prenup signed days before a wedding is often considered by the courts to have been signed under duress, the thinking being that many people will just sign whatever rather than cancel their wedding at the last minute. The ideal time in which to prepare a prenup is 6 weeks to 3 months prior to your wedding. If you do not have enough time left, seriously consider postponing your wedding.
2. Finances – You and your partner will need to make full and frank financial disclosure to each other when entering into a prenup. Each of you will need to discloses your income, assets, debts, and expected future gifts and inheritances. To do this involves digging up a significant amount of information: tax returns, financial statements of a business, bank records, and so forth.
3. Decide What the Prenup Should Say – A prenuptial agreement can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. It can deal with one issue – such as your marital home – or can go into detail on a comprehensive range of issues. You and your partner need to discuss in detail what you want in your prenup. You should think about current assets, current debts, assets that will be acquired in the future, debts that will be acquired in the future, what happens to future income, how expenses will be handled, and spousal maintenance.
4. Learn the law – You should have a general understanding of what the law would provide if you did not have a prenuptial agreement. You can browse the articles on our website for more information about this.
5. What is not Allowed – Certain things are not allowed in a prenup, and you should be familiar with this. The main ones to keep in mind is that your prenuptial agreement cannot deal with issues regarding your children, as they are not parties to the agreement. So, any clauses in your agreement dealing with custody, visitation, or child support are likely to be ignored by a judge.
6. Sunset or Review Clause – Once a prenup is signed, it normally is set in stone for the rest of your marriage. However, you can choose for this not to be the case, using either a review clause or a sunset clause. A review clause allows you, at a certain point in the future (e.g. after 10 years or once you have children), to review the terms of the agreement, and if you and your partner agree at that time, to change them to reflect your current circumstances. All or just some of the terms of your prenuptial agreement can be reviewed. A sunset clause allows certain (or all of the) provisions of your prenup to come to an end at a predetermined time in the future.