For high-wealth individuals entering a marriage, a prenuptial agreement is an important document that can provide both parties with peace of mind about the future.
Although prenuptial agreements have a somewhat poor reputation in society, they allow couples to clearly outline expectations and lead to a healthier, more communicative relationship overall.
There are several common pitfalls individuals and couples make when setting up these agreements, however. The following are the top five problems high-net worth divorce attorneys see on a regular basis—and how to avoid them:
1. Lack of full disclosure
Both parties signing a prenuptial agreement should honestly and accurately disclose all their assets, property and debt. If either or both fails to do so, a court could invalidate the contract—even after the marriage has become official. To avoid this problem, soon-to-be spouses should work with financial advisors to ensure they account for everything before signing the document.
2. Failing to work with legal counsel
Each party should consult an independent Las Vegas family law attorney separately, as this will ensure both get the right guidance for their respective situations. Each lawyer should thoroughly review the proposed agreement and advise the client if he or she should request any changes. A court may throw out a prenuptial agreement if one or both spouses did not consult an attorney before signing.
3. Signing under duress
Both parties must be of sound mind and free of any pressure to legally sign the prenuptial agreement. For example, neither may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time, and one party cannot be coerced into signing in any way. There should be ample time to negotiate and execute the prenuptial agreement; do not present it to your soon-to-be spouse for the first time the day before the wedding.
4. Unconscionable agreement
The prenuptial agreement must not be unconscionable. What does that mean? It cannot favor one side so much that it shocks the conscious of the court. In other words, if there is a great disparity of wealth and/or income between the spouses, the with less should not walk away with nothing. It is better to give that spouse something and have the agreement upheld, than to give them nothing and have the agreement thrown out. A skilled Las Vegas divorce attorney will craft an agreement in a way that ensures it is not unconscionable.
5. Including child support and custody provisions
A prenuptial agreement may cover a wide range of issues, but not child custody and support. In fact, nothing in the agreement should pertain to a couple’s children in any way. If an agreement does include child-related provisions, a court is likely to ignore them—and may even toss out the prenup altogether. It is best to deal with child support and custody using other means.
Consult a Las Vegas divorce attorney for further guidance
Attorney Shawn M. Goldstein is an experienced high-net worth divorce attorney who delivers cohesive advice and personal attention to individuals and couples who wish to establish prenuptial agreements before marriage. He knows how to set up an agreement that allows both parties to move forward with confidence. Goldstein Law Ltd. proudly serves clients in Las Vegas, Summerlin, Henderson, Green Valley, and the greater Clark County area.