It is a common occurrence: a soon-to-be ex-spouse trying to dig himself out from a terrible contractual agreement signed before marriage. While it is wise for two people to thoroughly understand each other’s finances and ultimately execute a prenuptial agreement before they get married, it is also critical that they don’t sign away significant rights to assets and support that they may need later in their lives.

Here are five red flags to look for as you review your prenup—and before you sign.

There Is Not Enough Time To Carefully Review And Give Input
Timing is everything. If the prenup is arriving for your review and the wedding is imminent, this may be a sign that your future spouse or their family is trying to pressure you into signing a contract that you should not and would not have signed if your mind were clear and you didn’t have wedding plans looming.

Do not sign it immediately. Show it to an attorney. If the attorney advises you not to sign it, then don’t. Get to the negotiating table and discuss the terms, even if it causes stress in that moment.

In other words, an unfair prenup does not guarantee a “happily ever after” just because it seems to make things happier right now.

Spoken Words Are Not Aligned With What Is Written
“What’s mine is ours.” (Is it really?) Don’t presume what your partner is saying to you is reflected in the contract that your partner wants you to sign—unless it is. When someone generously says, “What is mine is ours,” that is wonderful. But as has been said before: “Trust but verify.” No matter what you have said to each other, if you sign a prenuptial agreement contrary to those statements, that prenup is all that will matter in the eyes of the court, if you ever end up there.

Actions are usually louder than words—except when the words are written in a fully and properly executed prenuptial agreement. In that case, the paper has the final say.

The Language Is Very Vague
To have a fair discussion about their prenuptial agreement, a couple must be honest and transparent about their assets, liabilities and income. To that end, you should both exchange financial documents, including personal financial statements, bank account information and income tax returns.

If you are reviewing a prenup that is vague and lacking in the financial detail department, or if your soon-to-be financial partner (which is what your future spouse is under the law) is less than eager to be transparent, you may need to have a very honest discussion with yourself about what you expect from your marriage. Then have a discussion with your partner.

And if you are already married and have discovered that you had little to no understanding of your spouse’s finances, it might be time to raise the issue of a post-nup.

First « 1 2 » Next