What should you do if you are asked to sign a prenup?

A young bride who has been asked to sign a prenup

What’s a prenup agreement? Don’t sign a prenup until you read this.

Being asked to sign a prenuptial agreement, often called a prenup, can be a challenging and emotional situation. It’s important to approach this discussion with openness and understanding, keeping communication channels clear and emotions in check.

Dispelling Misconceptions

Prenuptial agreements have unfairly earned a negative reputation. Many assume they only serve to protect one person’s assets at the expense of the other. In reality, prenups can be crafted to ensure that both partners’ assets are fairly accounted for, providing financial security for both individuals post-breakup.

When it protects your marital rights, it could be a proactive step towards a secure and happy marriage. Taking the time to seek legal advice, ask questions, and consider your options is crucial to ensuring that the agreement aligns with your best interests and protects your rights.

Effective Communication is Key 

Talk to your partner openly and honestly about how you feel. Share your concerns, fears, and any questions you may have. Both of you need to understand each other’s perspectives and feelings. 

Try to understand why your partner is asking for a prenuptial agreement. They may have valid reasons, such as protecting assets acquired before the marriage or addressing financial concerns. Approaching the conversation with empathy fosters mutual understanding and respect.

Consult with Legal Counsel

You should consult with your independent legal counsel to review the prenuptial agreement and avoid relying solely on your partner or their representative to explain the prenup. 

Seeking legal advice from independent counsel ensures that both parties fully comprehend the legal implications of a prenuptial agreement. A family law attorney can guide you through the legal intricacies, ensuring that your rights and interests are fully protected. 

Don’t hesitate to ask questions about any aspects of the prenuptial agreement that seem unclear or concerning. Your attorney can provide clarification and help you grasp the full implications of the agreement before making any decisions.

Negotiate Terms

If there are aspects of the prenuptial agreement that you’re uncomfortable with or feel are unfair, discuss them with your partner and consider negotiating mutually acceptable terms. Your attorney can assist you in identifying areas for negotiation and advocating for your interests. 

Take Your Time

Don’t rush into signing the prenuptial agreement without fully understanding its implications and considering your options. Take the time you need to carefully review the agreement, seek advice, and make an informed decision. You should never be pressured to sign or given limited time without an independent lawyer present

Ultimately, whether to sign a prenuptial agreement is a personal decision that should be made based on careful consideration of your circumstances, values, and priorities. Open communication, mutual respect, and understanding between you and your partner are key to navigating this process together.

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Donita King

Ms. King is a member of the Virginia, Pennsylvania, and D.C. State Bars. She also serves as a University of Richmond School of Law Adjunct Professor of Mediation. She previously served on the Virginia Bar Association Joint ADR Council (2015 Chair), and served for several years on the Governor of Virginia’s Interagency Dispute Resolution Council. Ms. King currently serves as a board member of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board by appointment of the Virginia Supreme Court and has been active with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Women in Business as well. Se habla espanol.

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