March 22, 2017 written by Ashby Law
Congrats to you and your soon-to-be-spouse for having “the talk.” The prenup talk, that is. You’re both responsible, smart and have decided to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement. With all the expenses of a wedding (the flowers alone!) you are hoping you can DIY the prenup.
First of all, be clear on what a prenup is and what it isn’t. A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that is entered into prior to hitting the chapel. Its focus is the division of assets in the event of divorce, separation or death of one spouse. So the issues a prenup can cover include assets, property, life insurance, alimony, and residential time with the child. The contract cannot address child support, according to Washington law.
Before deciding to draft a prenup yourself, address the concerns of doing so. To be enforceable, it must be in writing, and signed and notarized by both parties with an eye towards marriage. Seems simple enough.
And perhaps by now you’ve seen a ton of online templates for prenuptial agreements. Of course that is the cheaper route. But you must think long-term about your security and stability.
Just like you weighed every attribute of your betrothed when deciding on a life partner, all the decisions surrounding this union are equally significant (well….except the wedding cake).
Since enforceability of a contract is always a concern, the DIY version of a prenup leaves the validity of the provisions questionable. Did each party understand the meaning of all the sections? Did each party accurately provide a list of assets? Did either party fail to include pertinent information?
Whereas, if you each have a lawyer representing you, tasked with drafting the prenup, so much potential stress is alleviated. Courts are more likely to enforce prenuptial agreements when lawyers represent both potential spouses. Not because they like lawyers more – definitely not. But courts feel each party entered into the agreement with full knowledge of the parameters of the contract.
And what if you want to modify or rescind a prenup? Again, having a lawyer in your corner will make that process exponentially easier.
Despite the thriving nature of online DIY prenups, these agreements are complicated and granular legal documents. If they are not done right, they are not worth the paper they are printed on.
You can’t predict the future but you can protect yourself with a prenuptial agreement that is soundly prepared.
If you need a prenuptial agreement please call us for a consultation. Our experienced team of family law attorneys at Ashby Law can advise you on any legal issue surrounding marriage, divorce, custody, alimony, adoption or other family law issues you may have. Call Ashby Law at 509-572-3700.