Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements (or “prenups,” in colloquial terms) often appear in pop culture and media in funny ways. Sometimes, they appear as a wedge issue between soon-to-be-weds in a sitcom. Other times, prenuptial agreements appear as a symbol of independence and financial freedom for strong female characters. Commonly, they are depicted as a wealthy man’s ploy to protect his riches.

What do these case studies in popular tropes tell us? Most people have a hazy, slightly skewed understanding of prenuptial agreements. In an effort to keep couples informed and empowered in their decision-making, this article cycles through a few commonly asked questions, aiming to demystify this important agreement.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Sometimes it’s called a “marriage contract,” sometimes a “domestic contract” – but usually, you’ll hear it referred to as a prenuptial agreement. Whatever the name, it’s a written contract a) containing information on the assets, debts and property each party brings to the relationship and b) outlining how those assets, debts and property will be divided if the marriage doesn’t work out.

Sure, the tropes mentioned above aren’t wholly wrong; some people use them to protect personal fortunes and maintain independence, which can cause friction in a budding relationship. But mostly, you’ll find these contracts drawn up sensibly by two loving parties hoping to delineate their shared and personal property – and avoid messy court proceedings in the event of a divorce. It’s not the most romantic document in a relationship, but it can be effective.

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How Does One Obtain a Prenup?

The best way to obtain a prenuptial agreement is to work with a quality family lawyer. A knowledgeable, empathetic legal professional with a knack for mediation should make the experience painless. For an example of quality, holistic family legal services in action, you can refer to the Tailor Law Professional Corporation website. In specific, read their helpful write-ups on choosing a prenuptial agreement lawyer, and drafting, reviewing and updating the agreement.

Can You Get a Prenuptial Agreement if You’re Already Married

Yes, you can get something like a prenup after the marriage papers are signed and notarized. As mentioned, prenups are sometimes called “Marriage contracts.” In these cases, a couple drafts a similar contract after their marriage is finalized (sometimes days after, sometimes many years). Essentially, these documents outline how you will deal with the dissolution of the marriage. Common law couples have something similar, known as a “cohabitation agreement.”

Can a Prenuptial Agreement Be Voided?

Prenups can be avoided – but it doesn’t happen with the regularity you might assume. Several internet search queries ask whether prenuptial agreements can be voided by one cheating spouse. However, unless a specific clause in the agreement details cheating as a condition for voiding, it won’t happen. The most common examples of a voided prenup are when one party can prove coercion, lack of knowledge about the agreement, undisclosed assets or unfair treatment.

To recap, the prenup isn’t necessarily romantic. However, it can be a practical tool for couples to preserve their rights and avoid conflict. The best way to enter a prenuptial agreement is through a dedicated, experienced family lawyer with experience in the agreement.

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