The best way to create a valid prenuptial agreement is to follow the laws of your state. These laws will vary – some allow stipulations that other states won’t – so it’s crucial that you have a good understanding of what a prenup can and can’t do .
In general, a prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties to be considered valid. Neither party can be under any sort of duress when making the agreement, and it must essentially be fair. Even the timing of the prenup can affect whether it is ruled to be valid or not. If there is any suggestion that the wealthier spouse waited to “spring” the prenup on the unsuspecting spouse, the prenup may be ruled to be invalid and normal property distribution laws would apply.
Some states allow prenups to stipulate the amount of alimony if any, that will be paid, while other states do not. If you are addressing alimony in your prenup, you should remember that the courts will consider whether or not such a settlement is reasonable. If it does not pass the test, the judge may decide to set this portion of the prenup aside and award alimony as he or she sees fit.
A prenup must be executed prior to thewedding and must include complete disclosure about each party’s financial situation. Future expectations must also be addressed, such as when once spouse expects to receive a substantial amount of money subject to an anticipated event. Failure to provide such disclosure will likely cause your prenup to be ruled as invalid.
Many states also require that both parties be represented by independent counsel (a lawyer) to ensure they understand the terms of a prenup and that their rights are being protected. Prenups are also limited to certain financial and property issues, so including items that aren’t allowed is a sure way to have your prenup dismissed.