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When it comes to prenups, timing matters

People often understand that a prenuptial agreement is a binding legal contract that must be properly drafted and completed. You and your future spouse can’t just shake hands or write up an agreement on your own and expect it to stand up to a challenge in the case of a divorce. That doesn’t stop people from trying, but it’s basic common sense that your agreement needs to be legally sound and enforceable.

When is the wrong time to sign a prenup?

The best way to think about this is that the wrong time is a date that is too close to your wedding.  Signing the prenuptial agreement on the eve of the wedding, or even the wedding day, can be problematic.  Exactly what that means may differ from one case to the next, but what you’re trying to avoid is a situation where your spouse can raise legitimate claims that the prenuptial agreement was not signed voluntarily, or that there was not a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations.  Rushing to sign a prenuptial agreement can certainly lead to several disputes over the agreement’s legality in the future.   All of these issues can be brought up later as reasons to invalidate the prenup, even though both of you signed before the actual wedding.

When should you sign a prenuptial agreement?

Ideally, if you want to use a prenup, you should bring it up with your future spouse when you are considering getting engaged and discussing your future lives together. You want to have months between the signing and the wedding so that you can show that both parties really had time to think about the conditions, seek legal counsel and agree. Be sure you know exactly what steps to take to protect your future interests — with or without a prenup.

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