- You should have an antenuptial agreement signed before the wedding invitations go out. The Courts can disregard all or part of an antenuptial agreement if there was duress involved. Asking your fiancée to sign an antenuptial agreement a couple of weeks before the wedding and telling him or her the wedding is off without an agreement may be viewed by the Court as a move that put that party under duress.
- You need to make sure the person being asked to sign the agreement knows exactly what you have and what it is worth, or was given a chance to find out. The Courts can disregard all or part of an antenuptial agreement if there was fraud involved. Asking someone to sign an antenuptial agreement and misleading him about your financial circumstances so that they will sign off on an agreement that provides them with less than they would have gotten under the law could be viewed as fraudulent.
- The contract should be fair when it is originally created. If you try to preclude your spouse from receiving a fair share of the assets, the Court could, at the time of divorce, declare that the agreement is so unfair that it cannot be enforced. Think about whether the agreement is fair when it is made and whether it will also be fair in 5 or 10 or 20 years. If not, then perhaps you need to revise it or forget it. At a minimum, to be fair, your future spouse must have a chance to meet with an attorney of their own choice and there must be a full disclosure of all income and assets.
- The contract must be signed no less than one day before the marriage and it must be properly witnessed. If the contract is not executed in the procedural manner proscribed under the law it will be deemed invalid.
If you are planning on marrying and own complex financial assets, or continuing obligations from previous marriages, an experienced antenuptial agreement attorney can help you plan for the future. Contact our law office to discuss the financial implications of your marriage with our experienced lawyers.