You are not required to have an attorney for a prenuptial agreement. These pre-marital contracts can be drafted and signed without legal assistance by couples who understand what they should contain and how they are enforced.
Prenups do not have to be notarized, but do need to be in writing and must contain the signature of both spouses. However, a prenuptial agreement can be nullified by the court if it can be established that it was signed under duress, making it best to have a witness even if you are not working with a lawyer.
What is the Purpose of a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenup allows you, as a couple, to determine what will happen to your assets and debts in the case of death or divorce. It can also help set ground rules for how financial decisions will be made during the marriage.
While not necessary in all circumstances, a prenuptial agreement can be very useful in cases where:
- You make significantly more or less money than your partner
- You or your partner is coming into the marriage with substantial debt
- You or your partner are remarrying
- You or your partner plan on quitting a job to raise children
- You or your partner own a business independent of the other
Prenups can also be used to enforce estate plans in the case of death. As with divorce, having a prenuptial agreement in these cases helps ensure your desires are met and can reduce the risk of a lengthy or contentious court battle.
What can Nullify a Prenuptial Agreement?
There are several things that can make a prenup unenforceable. Among the most common are issues such as:
- The agreement is fundamentally unfair, lopsided, or unrealistic
- The agreement was not entered into voluntarily
- Assets and/or liabilities were not honestly and fully disclosed at the time of signing
- Provisions in the prenup are not allowed by state law
A prenuptial agreement can be an effective and convenient document, but it is not a failsafe. This is one of the primary reasons to hire an attorney when working on a prenuptial agreement. While not required by law, having an attorney provide counsel, create the document, and oversee the signing of your agreement is a more reliable way to make sure it is legal and valid.
Thomas C. Bradley
Thomas C. Bradley is an experienced and thorough family law attorney who assists couples in Reno, Sparks, and surrounding areas with prenuptial agreements. Working with both partners, Mr. Bradley will take time to explain the limitations and benefits of a prenup, gather all necessary financial information, and draft a document that is both agreeable and legally valid to help ensure your desires and needs are met.
If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, call 775-323-5178 and schedule your consultation with Thomas C. Bradley today. Located in Reno, Attorney Bradley serves all surrounding areas of Western Nevada.