Prenuptial Agreement Series — Part 2
This is how we often see things happen: So I want to get a Prenuptial Agreement. I’ve already talked to my fiancé. We agreed to certain terms so I’ll just call around, have an attorney draft a quickie Prenuptial Agreement on the cheap for us to sign the week before the wedding. I’m sure my fiancé will sign it since we’ve already talked about everything.
That is a terrible idea. It only increases the probability that you will either not be able to find an attorney who can draft your Prenuptial Agreement in time for the wedding, or if you do, they will charge you exorbitantly more just for it. It also increases the likelihood of the Prenuptial Agreement being challenged in the event of a divorce.
It is preferable that you commence work on your Prenuptial Agreement well in advance of the wedding, several months at the very least and preferably more. The reason for this is largely to ensure that you have enough time to consult with an attorney, draft and revise the document and present it to your fiancé. The preparation process is just as important, if not more important, than having your fiancé review it and sign it. So we recommend that you commence this process as early as possible. Waiting a few days or even a few weeks before the wedding is not a good idea. Also consider that you have to find an attorney who has time in his or schedule to fit you in and draft the document.
You should also consult with an attorney about your Prenuptial Agreement before you even have any significant discussions with your fiancé about the Prenuptial Agreement. The reason for this is because there may be issues you haven’t even considered yet until you talk to an attorney. The attorney may raise points or educate you on certain issues that may affect what you are considering agreeing to in your Prenuptial Agreement. Even if you ultimately decide not to follow all of your attorney’s advice, at least you can engage in the conversation with your fiancé informed and knowledgeable about how a Prenuptial Agreement could apply to your circumstances. We have had countless conversations with clients about Prenuptial Agreements who often say, “I hadn’t even thought about that.” If you haven’t already promised your fiancé anything, it may be easier to negotiate the terms than if you had.
You should also be prepared to make full disclosures of your income, assets and liabilities. Your attorney can advise you better with all of this information. It should also be included in your Prenuptial Agreement. The current relevant statute relating to a Prenuptial Agreement in New Jersey does not absolutely require disclosure of finances. However, any waiver of full disclosures is required to be acknowledged and agreed to in writing. Whether it is prudent for you to make disclosures in your Prenuptial Agreement or not will depend on your goals and your particular circumstances, which should be discussed at length with your attorney before drafting your Prenuptial Agreement.
Once you and your attorney have developed a plan for the drafting of your Prenuptial Agreement, you may or may not be ready to discuss the details with your fiancé. In either case, your attorney will likely spend at least several hours drafting your Prenuptial Agreement, which requires your review and redrafting until it comprehensively addresses all issues. Only then is it presented to your fiancé.
Once the Prenuptial Agreement is presented to your fiancé, then your fiancé should have ample time to carefully review it and seek legal advice from another attorney. This also is a process that requires time. Your fiancé and his or her attorney may seek revisions to the Prenuptial Agreement. This could occur numerous times until a final draft that is acceptable to both of you is achieved.
We also recommend that you and your fiancé have your attorneys communicate on your behalf regarding revisions and related issues. Planning your wedding and preparing for marriage is a stressful event, but it is also one that should be a happy time in your life. Negotiating a Prenuptial Agreement can cause conflict. Let the attorneys flesh those out.
It should be apparent that getting a Prenuptial Agreement done is not just a quick process as simple as getting a marriage certificate. It is an important document that deserves your time and attention without being rushed. It could very well turn out to be one of the most important documents you ever sign.
Contact Us Today to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your options.