The importance of a strong, properly executed prenuptial agreement

For many practical reasons, an increasing number of engaged couples are choosing to make certain financial expectations legally binding before they tie the knot. A sound, strong and well-executed prenuptial agreement can help ease tension in a relationship, can protect important interests and can allow couples to know where they stand in certain financial contexts throughout the life of their marriage. However, it is imperative that a prenuptial agreement be properly executed.

If a prenuptial agreement is not properly executed, it can prove to be unenforceable in court. Generally, these agreements must be made in good faith, free of fraudulent, unfair or malicious intent and must be executed according to procedural guidelines that vary from state to state.

If attorneys do not draft an agreement properly, they may be held liable for negligence if their approach later harms one of the spouses affected by the agreement. However, it is ideal that a prenuptial agreement is drafted properly in the first place so that both spouses are adequately protected and have a clear understanding of what the terms of the prenuptial agreement compel them to do.

If a primary purpose of prenuptial agreements is to protect individual property and another is to set expectations in advance in order to relieve potential marital tension, then a poorly executed prenuptial agreement fails to meet either of these intentions. When a weak agreement fails to hold up in court, everyone affected can suffer severe consequences.

Engaged couples can greatly benefit from prenuptial agreements. If you are considering entering into one, please just make sure that you seek the counsel of an experienced and respected attorney, in order to increase your chances that your prenup will hold up in court down the road, should you ever need to enforce it.

Source: The Age, "In case of heartbreak," Barbara Drury, Jan. 16, 2013

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