Prenuptial agreements are no longer for the rich and famous. Couples of all ages and all walks of life get prenups before they tie the knot. They can be particularly valuable in a community property state like Arizona where everything earned or acquired by either spouse during the marriage can be divided in half by the court if the couple doesn’t agree to another arrangement. If you have children from another relationship or marriage, a prenup can also help you protect money that you intend for them to have someday.
While there’s no shortage of “do-it-yourself” prenups online, it’s wise for both spouses-to-be to have a family law attorney involved in the drafting of their prenup. Often, one person’s attorney drafts it, while the other person has their own attorney review it to make sure they’re not unknowingly agreeing to something that might not be in their best interests.
In fact, lack of legal representation is one of the grounds on which a prenup can be ruled invalid if a spouse challenges it in divorce. Let’s look at a few of the others:
The prenup was signed under duress
If one party can show that they were pressured, forced, tricked or threatened into signing an agreement that they didn’t have a chance to read or that was extremely slanted in favor of the other party, it may be tossed out.
One party didn’t fully and accurately disclose their assets
If one person (or both) undervalued the assets they disclosed or left out some of their assets, the prenup can be ruled invalid.
One party signed it with reduced mental capacity
If someone can prove that they signed the prenup while intoxicated, under the influence of drugs (including medication they were taking for an illness or injury) or otherwise weren’t of sound mind, a judge will likely determine that it’s unenforceable.
If you’re planning to get married and considering a prenup, keep in mind that it’s only worth the time and money you spend on it if it is valid. That’s why you need an experienced attorney on your side. They can also advise you about what provisions can and can’t be included and help guide you in larger discussions regarding your financial goals as you prepare to share your lives