In the world of family law, few things create as much stress and apprehension as a prenuptial agreement. You may think: if this person loves me and wants to marry me, how could they be so offensive as to ask for a prenup? However offensive or worrying a prenuptial agreement may seem, it is probably in your best interest to have such an agreement before you get married. Few people going into marriage anticipating a divorce, but a premarital agreement can protect you and give you rights you otherwise would not have.
On the other hand, you want to be sure that you fully understand what is in the agreement and what the consequences will be if it is ever enforced. It is highly advisable for each of you to have your own attorney before signing the agreement. In some cases, an unrepresented party may be able to avoid enforcement of the agreement if they didn’t knowingly understand what they were signing. In other cases, individual representation is required. California requires both parties to be represented if they want to, for example, limit spousal support or alimony in the event of a divorce. Needless to say, you would never want to sign a prenup on a cocktail napkin if, on a whim, you decide to get married in Las Vegas and have had a few too many drinks. It is very likely that such an agreement would not hold up in court.
Another good reason to make sure you know what you are signing and have fully considered the consequences is to avoid the other spouse crying foul because they felt pressured to sign the agreement. Two days before the wedding is probably not a good time to spring a prenuptial agreement on your fiancé. Having the conversation early and clearing up any disagreements will do a great deal to build trust and confidence in the agreement and more importantly, in the abiding strength of your relationship.
If you have been asked to sign a prenuptial agreement or would like to have a premarital agreement, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced family attorney who can guide you through the potential pitfalls. The team at Fischer & Van Thiel can answer all of your questions and help you draft an airtight prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Call our office today!