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A key cog to ensure an airtight prenup: proven legal help

OK, you finally got around to signing that contract a few of your friends were constantly reminding you about. It wasn’t that bad -- an online boilerplate document entitled “Prenuptial Agreement” that you and the soon-to-be spouse ran through in about 15 minutes and executed moments ago, just hours before the wedding.

Your partner seemed a bit frazzled by the sudden introduction of the agreement, but there it is -- both signatures duly affixed at the bottom. You didn’t fully disclose every material detail about your assets and liabilities, but you did mention a few of them. And there wasn’t a hint of objection to the language you added that lacked just a bit of clarity and could be interpreted in a couple different ways. Not having lawyers around peeking over your shoulder certainly saved a few bucks and expedited the process.

Fast forward a couple years to a courthouse, where that agreement is now being silently studied by a judge.

No problems, right?

Uh, wrong. That document that was rolled up in the back of your pants as you walked down the aisle is now destined -- almost certainly and with dispatch -- for an unceremonial demise at the bottom of a courthouse garbage can.

It turns out that you didn’t pay due heed to a few things required to ratchet up those papers to enforceability status.

Like candor. Full disclosure. Lack of deceit. Not insisting on execution when your partner was under obvious pressure.

Like all legal agreements, the stated subject matter in a marital contract must be lawful to be enforceable. Various types of mistakes and any evidence of bad faith in its execution can consign one summarily to the judicial dumpster.

That outcome can be avoided by having an experienced attorney on board to assist in the planning, negotiation and drafting of any marital contract.

Source: Huffington Post, "10 common prenup pitfalls," David Centeno, Nov. 4, 2013

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