Premarital agreement mistakes to avoid

Bethesda-area couples who are marrying this summer have probably been planning ceremonies and celebrations for months. While lots of time goes into careful planning of those highly anticipated events, people will far too often put off until the last minute a discussion of a premarital agreement that will protect the assets they bring into the marriage.

Procrastination can result in the hurried completion of an online one-size-fits-all prenuptial agreement that doesn’t actually suit their needs and doesn’t really protect anyone.

Common errors

Let’s take a look at common mistakes to avoid when crafting a prenuptial agreement.

  • Write it out: In order to be valid, a premarital agreement must be in writing. And both people must sign it before marrying.
  • Under pressure: A prenup might be invalid if one of the spouses was pressured by the other to sign.
  • Read it: If either spouse hurriedly signs it without reading it, it might be invalid. Don’t take “reading” too literally: a person has to be given time to review and ponder it before signing it.
  • Invalid provisions: Though a prenup can include most financial aspects of your marriage (including spousal support), it cannot include provisions determining child custody or child support in case the marriage ends in divorce.
  • Falsities: If a premarital agreement contains untrue information about income, assets or liabilities, it can be declared invalid. The same outcome awaits a prenup with incomplete pertinent information.
  • Independent counsel: Because separate interests are involved, both people should be represented by a family law attorney. If only one is represented, the agreement might be invalid.
  • Unconscionable: An unconscionable contract contains terms that are grossly unfair to one of the parties that a Maryland court would be unlikely to enforce it.

An experienced Montgomery County family law attorney can help craft or review a prenuptial agreement.