How Long Will It Take To Draft A Prenup?
Prenups or Premarital agreements are a very common legal agreement drawn up between two parties entering a marriage as a way of protecting the financial rights and assets of one or both partners in the event of a divorce. Most people think of prenuptial agreements as one partner having issues of mistrust for the other partner, however, prenuptial agreements can be sources of providing properly and legally for the other partner in the event of divorce or death.
The amount of time a prenuptial agreement takes to be drafted varies as does the amount of time it takes to be signed and finalized. A draft may take anywhere from a few days or longer to draft depending on the wealth, assets and other stipulations to be included. The time it takes from drafting the document to finalization will also vary and depend on certain factors, including if anything is disputed by the other party.
Prenuptial agreements can protect one party’s financial and material assets from ruin by the other party but they can also provide for the other party by way of protecting them from assuming debts, stipulating how property and other assets are disbursed in the event of a death, and to avoid long, drawn-out disputes should the couple divorce. The prenuptial agreement exists only on the grounds that both parties are in agreement with the terms and therefore, it is only legal if both parties have agreed and signed the document. The document must be drawn up and entered legally, for example, it is not binding nor enforced if one partner has the other sign an envelope, napkin, tablet paper or by any electronic means or any other manner.
It is also possible to update your prenuptial agreement after a period of time in the marriage. Ten years is a reasonable length of time before taking another look at the document to decide if both parties are still in agreement. At the initial drafting of a prenup, a “sunset clause” can also be included which means the prenuptial agreement between the couple will expire automatically after a certain amount of time, perhaps ten or twenty years.
Although prenuptial agreements are usually drafted for couples who have wealth, there are other reasons a prenuptial agreement can also be a wise decision such as a parent who remarries after divorce may want to protect their minor child’s inheritance and will sign a prenup before the new marriage.
New York is one of the few states which have yet to adopt the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act (UPAA) although it has been introduced in 2017 for review. Instead, New York and other nonparticipating states follow basic contract rules which apply to prenuptial agreements. ¹
Prenuptial agreements have long-term effects for one or both parties and the document contents with stipulations and allowances may be complex. Because of this, an agreement should always be drawn up by a NYC prenup lawyer who specializes in marital law. No one enters marriage thinking of divorce, but the financial and material consideration in the event of divorce is always wise. A NYC prenup lawyer whose practice encompasses marital law is the person best suitable to draft and finalize personal and financial aspects of a prenup.
The ideal time to begin the prenuptial agreement process is a few months before the wedding. This ensures that there is enough time to include all details and listing of assets. This is a good length of time to leave room for challenges to the contents by one party, additions or omissions, and discussions, all of which affect the time it takes for a prenuptial agreement to be drafted and finalized.
Waiting until the last moment to draw up a prenup can result in a poor document which carries a risk of not holding up in a court of law when it is needed. Spouses may be under no obligation to the law, depending on the state where the prenuptial agreement is drawn up in, to disclose their entire wealth assets to their partner before marriage. Whatever assets are disclosed must be presented truthfully or in the event of divorce, a judge may decide there are grounds not to enforce the prenup. Each prenuptial agreement is as unique as the parties involved and only an attorney can advise on the laws of your particular state.²
It is advisable to have the prenuptial agreement completed and signed thirty days before the wedding day. There is always a possibility a change is needed and a NYC prenup lawyer can quickly draft those changes into the agreement. A prenup is not a difficult process but is an important process for the couple involved that should not be conducted in a hasty manner.
Who Uses Prenuptial Agreements?
Years ago, when prenuptial agreements were first introduced, they were primarily used by the wealthy to safeguard their finances. I spouse was asked to sign the contract as a means of ensuring each partner took from the marriage whatever they brought into it and, for the upper classes, this was an important concern. Today, however, prenuptial agreements are employed by people of every economic standing for the reason mentioned above, as well as for many other reasons. It’s now a legal tool often used to ensure divorces are quicker and less painful.
Why Do You Need a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement isn’t required to get married, so, in that respect, no one is required to get one. However, many couples see the advantages of having one in place and seek out an experienced NYC prenup lawyer to help get one drafted. Under what circumstances is a prenuptial agreement most beneficial, then?
The goal is to protect your assets in a divorce settlement, so, before tying the knot, you may want to look at your specific situation. For instance, if you own your own business, expect a large increase in income, or anticipate receiving a sizable inheritance, a prenuptial agreement may be your best course of action. This is especially true if you’re significantly wealthier than your intended spouse.
Prenuptial agreements are often utilized in situations where one spouse expects to support the other spouse, while he or she pursues a college degree. In that case, the agreement may establish conditions under which that support must be repaid, or it may line out other considerations. Similarly, one spouse may expect to pursue a degree or certification that will lead to a more financially rewarding career.
There are a few other conditions under which a prenuptial agreement may be considered. The possession of real estate, stocks, retirement accounts, etc. are all items that you would want protected from a divorce settlement. Also, one spouse may have older parents or young children who depend on them for their financial future. Under such circumstances, they will want to ensure funds intended for them aren’t dispensed in a divorce settlement.
What A Prenuptial Agreement Cannot Do
In many cases, a well planned prenuptial agreement can limit the length and scope of a divorce court hearing. If property issues are settled in the agreement, there’s little need to rehash those details at the time of the divorce, ensuring a quicker settlement. There are some items that cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement, however.
Where children are products of the marriage, there will be issues of custody, visitation, and support to settle. The terms and reasons for the divorce may have a direct bearing on what’s best for the children, so including these items in a prenuptial agreement may just be a waste of time and resources. In the end, it’s up to family court to determine the best situations for any children involved and there’s no telling how that may be affected in the years between the drafting of the prenuptial agreement and the time of the divorce.
As a rule, any details that don’t directly deal with the distribution of property and finances should be omitted from the prenuptial agreement. Errors of this nature are common in agreements drafted without the assistance of an experienced NYC prenup lawyer. While hiring a family law attorney may create an added expense, it may be worth it to ensure the prenuptial agreement isn’t invalidated at the time of divorce.
What a Prenuptial Agreement Does for Couples
When a couple is thinking about the possible benefits of a prenuptial agreement; it’s an extremely personal decision. Each marital situation is different. The decision must be made on a couple’s individual set of circumstances. Prenuptial agreements are becoming popular with people of modest means as well as the wealthy.
Avoid Financial Disagreements
One of the main causes for divorce is finances. When couples can discuss the financial issues involved with their marriage before being married, it can avoid many misunderstandings. This agreement can cover such issues as property, assets, financial obligations and more. This avoids disagreements over unknown financial issues during the marriage. This is also an effective way to nurture positive communications between a couple.
What To Include
Legal experts will advise couples considering a prenuptial agreement to determine what they want it to do for them. They may want to identify what assets are joint and which ones they want to keep separate. Family property and providing for current as well as future children should be discussed. How children from a previous marriage will be handled financially should also be determined. An agreement should be reached on the responsibility of individual as well as joint debts. How household bills will be handled as well as taxes and more. Finance and investment goals need to be addressed. Distribution of property and assets in the event of a divorce should also be discussed and included in the prenuptial agreement.
A prenuptial agreement can be used to clarify the financial rights of each marriage partner. People may want to have their different financial rights and responsibilities established prior to marriage. It’s also possible for people to make certain assets will remain with them if the marriage ends. This could involve such assets as real estate and more that could increase in value during the marriage. There are states that won’t permit a spouse to not pay alimony. The alimony listed in a prenuptial may not be honored by a court in some states. This is true if it denies alimony, and the spouse to receive it didn’t speak with an attorney prior to signing the prenuptial.
A prenuptial agreement cannot include child custody issues such as child support and more. A court will be involved with this decision. It will be decided by a court based on what it determined to be in the best interest of any children involved with the marriage. Many different factors will be taken into consideration when deciding issues affecting children.
Valid Prenuptial Agreement
Many courts will carefully scrutinize a prenuptial agreement. Many of them will include a waiver of a financial or legal benefit for the spouse who is not wealthy. It’s common for the wealthy spouse to be the one who wants to end the marriage. Every state will permit couples to enter into a prenuptial agreement. If the agreement is determined by a judge to be unfair, or not in compliance with the state’s legal requirements, it will be considered invalid and set aside.
When a couple is considering a prenuptial agreement, it’s important they negotiate honestly and in good faith. They need to work with an attorney and create a document that is easy to understand, clear and meets their needs. Having separate lawyers review it, and agree with it, will help the chances of a prenuptial agreement holding up in court.