It’s all over the news lately that Prince William and his fiancé Kate Middleton will likely not sign a prenuptial agreement before the royal wedding on April 29th. Although many reasons have been given as to why the couple will forgo signing a prenup, one of the reasons is that “while prenuptial agreements are common in the United States, they are far less prevalent in the UK. Only in the last year have British courts agreed to recognize such deals.” This is a statement that has some Americans asking exactly how legally binding are prenuptial agreements here in the States?
The answer to that question depends on a number of factors: your state of residence, the terms of your prenuptial agreement, how long you stay married, and more. Fortunately, the longer prenuptial agreements are around, and the more common they become, the more respect they get from the courts. But if you’re worried that your prenuptial agreement won’t hold up in court, here are few tips to help ensure the validity of your agreement.
Neither party must be signing under duress. The more time each party has to review the agreement before the wedding the better. Any prenuptial agreement signed the day of or the day before the wedding could be looked upon as being signed under duress.
The agreement should include full disclosure of income and assets. If you live in a state where it is possible to waive full disclosure of assets then BOTH parties should specify that they do so knowingly.
Each party should have their own legal representation. In order to be sure that neither party is being taken advantage of, each party should have their own independent attorney review the document before it is signed.
Details regarding children or child support in a prenuptial agreement may not be enforced by most courts. Partners my want to include details about possible custody or child support arrangements in a prenuptial agreement, but keep in mind that any court will always give the best interests of a child the highest priority, even if it means disregarding those sections of the agreement between spouses.
Waivers of Spousal Support (alimony) Will Be Carefully Construed by California Courts. Any attempt to waive spousal support in the pre-nup will be carefully construed in the event of divorce, and may or may not later hold up, so just beware.
Seniors with children from prior relationshps, who remarry later in life, often consider pre-nups as a way to ensure the inheritance of their own children. So, its not just above divorce. Hopefully, these tips can help ensure that your agreement will be considered valid by a court should the need for enforcement arise down the road.