More and more couples are executing prenuptial agreements prior to getting married, which likely corresponds to the fact that couples tend to be older when they marry, thus putting more assets at stake. No matter the value of assets involved, for many couples, executing a prenuptial agreement is a wise decision. Entering into a prenuptial agreement also allows the couple to discuss finances prior to marriage and protect any separate property that either individual may accrue.
In order to ensure that your prenuptial agreement is enforceable, you must take precautions as to both the content of the agreement and the process by which you and your spouse executed the agreement. In terms of the agreement’s content, you cannot include provisions that relate to child custody, parenting time schedules, and child support. Your prenuptial agreement must address property and debt issues, not issues related to your children. However, the agreement can include a provision in which each spouse waives his or her right to collect spousal support from the other in the event of a divorce. So long as each spouse knowingly and willingly waives his or her right to spousal support, the court is likely to uphold this portion of the agreement.
The process of executing a prenuptial agreement is also important. In order for a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable, it must be made knowingly, willingly, and without fraud, duress, or intimidation. Both you and your spouse should be represented by separate attorneys who do not work for the same law firm. This ensures that each of you will receive the legal advice and counsel that you need when you are entering into such an important agreement. Receiving legal advice independent of your spouse will help you understand the different provisions in the proposed agreement and how they will affect you in the future if you end up getting divorced. This step also ensures that there is no fraud in the execution in the agreement; in other words, you need to make sure that one spouse does not take advantage of the other.
Divorce cases can be extremely complicated, lengthy, emotional, and stressful, whether they involve a prenuptial agreement or not. No matter the complexity of the issues in your case, we are here to help. The attorneys of Pacific Northwest Family Law have handled all cases involving all aspects of divorce and family law, including child custody, paternity, child support, parenting plans, and division of property . Please contact an experienced Washington divorce attorney at our office if you have any questions about divorce or family law in the state of Washington.