As a divorce lawyer who reviews and creates prenuptial agreements in Jersey City for people throughout the State, I found that certain elements should be clear in a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement in order for it to be effective.
While every case or situation is fact sensitive, below are some key tips to focus on.
- Avoid any potential duress arguments in the future
- Be as precise as possible concerning the value of current assets
- Be fair
- Have two attorneys work on it and/or review the terms (one for each spouse)
- The more details, the less you leave to chance
- Complete the prenuptial agreement within a reasonable time before the marriage ceremony. This will reduce the chance of a duress argument in the future.
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Things to Keep in Mind
When Drafting Your Agreement
I. Avoid Potential Duress Arguments
When something is challenged in court, the Judge wants to know the background as to how you got there. If your spouse signs a prenuptial agreement and when a divorce is pending, he or she may claim duress as a reason why the prenuptial agreement is invalid.
Language in the prenup could help kill that argument but that at times this may not be enough. The sooner a person introduces the idea of a prenup during the relationship/engagement and finally the execution of the agreement far in advance of the wedding date, the better.
As you can imagine, having to sign such an important document just days or weeks before a wedding where your whole family will be there and friends, could put undue pressure on yourself or your spouse to sign a document he or she was not ready to sign or was rushed to sign. Avoid this and plan in advance.
II. Be as Precise as Possible
The more candid you are, the more likely your prenuptial agreement will withstand a challenge in the future. This candidness should be about assets, debts, other children, etc.
It is very important to be forthcoming about your assets so that you can protect those assets in the future if you to have to go to the “divorce ring.”
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