How You Can Draft Your Own Prenup Agreement
Creating your own prenuptial agreement
All right, the battle is over. You're getting engaged and one or both of you has decided that a prenuptial agreement is an important part of the relationship. Maybe it was a big deal and you fought and cried about issues of trust before you came to this conclusion or maybe you both think that the prenup is a good way of getting your financial affairs settled so that you don't have to stress about them throughout the marriage every time that things start to get a little bit rocky. Whatever the case may be, you've decided that you're going to have a prenuptial agreement and you're getting ready to draft it. Now what?
Here’s what you need to know to draft your own prenuptial agreement:
First of all, there's a reason that they have attorneys who do these things and you might want to think seriously about going that route. If you're going to bother to have a legal document like this one, you might as well make sure that someone who knows what they're doing is dotting the I's and crossing the T's. You can obtain a prenup through a local attorney for a relatively minimal cost.
If you decide that you're going to draft your own prenup, here are some things that you should keep in mind:
- The prenuptial agreement deals only with property. You can't agree to things like naming your children after certain family members or how often you're going to have sex once you're married. Yes, people have tried to work both of these things into their prenuptial agreements; they don't stand up in court. You can actually list such things legitimately in a prenup but what happens more often than not is that they fall under the category of "frivolous demands" and aren't taken seriously by the court should the agreement ever come into legal question.
- Real estate property is a major area which should be covered in your prenup. If either party enters the marriage owning their own real estate, the rights and responsibilities regarding that property should be discussed. There should also be a clause about the rights and responsibilities of property either or both of the fiancées purchase together.
- Think of yourselves in terms of a unit. What things might you be purchasing together that you want to have clearly defined. Big expenses like an SUV can fall into this category as can more daily things such as joint savings accounts. If you are concerned about how your future marriage partner is going to establish and use a savings account; discuss it and include it in the prenup.
- Alimony in the event of divorce should be mentioned in the prenuptial agreement, even if it is only to say that none will be provided to either person.
- Remember that, as a legal document, the prenuptial agreement must be signed by both people in the presence of a witness.
- It is called "prenuptial" because it happens before the wedding. You can't sign a prenuptial agreement after the wedding, so if you're going to do this, you need to do it, sign it and date it before you say your "I Do".
- Double-check the laws of your state. You need to state in your preup what state laws are going to rule over the agreement and therefore you should look into that state's laws about things like property rights and joint accounts which may differ from state to state.
If you've drafted your own prenuptial agreement and you're both satisfied with it, you can either get a lawyer to review the final copy or you can just sign and seal it and leave it at that. For many couples, the prenuptial agreement ends up being more of a salve for the mind that an item which actually ends up being used. However, if it comes down to that day when the love is all gone and the bitterness reigns, you might be glad that you got those I's and T's taken care of.