Going to the Chapel and I’m Gonna Get Married… Premarital Tips

wedding_111207_01So you have picked out the wedding rings, booked the band and confirmed your honeymoon reservations with your travel agent, but have you signed your premarital agreement?  Here are some tips you should keep in mind to make sure that your premarital agreement is signed before you get married and hopefully with as little stress as possible:

  • Discuss the terms of the agreement with your fiancé far in advance of the wedding so that you are both on the same page with your goals and intentions with respect to the agreement. Very often couples are not on the same page and after the agreement is drafted and shared with the other party, issues arise because there was not a meeting of the minds as to the terms of the agreement, or sometimes, there is no meeting of the minds and there should be an agreement at all.
  • Meet with your attorney as far in advance of the wedding as possible.
  • Although not required, your fiancé should have their own attorney review the agreement with him or her. One attorney cannot represent both of you.
  • Prepare a full and complete financial disclosure of all of your assets, liabilities and income, which should be appended to the agreement. It is critical for the validity and enforceability of the agreement that this disclosure be accurate and complete.
  • Offer your fiancé access to your financial records and offer her or him the ability to obtain appraisals of your assets.
  • If you own a business, make sure you indicate on the disclosure, how the value of the business was determined. For example, if book value was used or if it was based on an appraisal.  Indicate that if another method of valuation was used, the value may be higher or lower.
  • As part of the disclosure, provide your fiancé with your last two filed federal income tax returns.
  • If you are economically more secure than your fiancé consider making some provision for him or her in the event of divorce. This could be by way of a lump sum payment and/or support.
  • Also, in the event of death, consider making a provision for your fiancé if you are happily married at the time one of you were to die. Making your fiancé the beneficiary of a life insurance policy is one way to do this.
  • If you have an interest in a retirement plan and as part of the agreement, your fiancé is waiving his or her interest in the plan, you need to make sure you obtain your fiancé’s signature on the spousal waiver form required by the plan after you are married. This form cannot be signed until after the wedding and if it is not signed, the waiver in the premarital agreement will be meaningless and not enforceable.
  • Any provisions regarding child support or custody in a premarital agreement may not be enforceable as they may be considered against public policy.

Very often, couples wait until the last-minute and do not want to discuss a premarital agreement because it can put a damper on what should otherwise be a joyful time.  However, if you address the issues early and consider these tips, what can be a stressful situation will hopefully go smoother.

By: Dori F. GreenDori Green

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