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Make sure that your prenuptial agreement is 'bulletproof'

You've heard the saying that something "isn't worth the paper it's printed on." That's true of prenuptial agreements. If a prenup isn't drawn up properly and if both parties aren't fully on-board and understanding of what's in it, all or part of it can be tossed by a judge during a divorce.

A well-known divorce attorney who has handled divorces for the rich and famous, as well as those not in the public eye, says a prenup is essential. He goes so far as to say that "if you don't have a prenuptial, see a psychiatrist, not a lawyer." However, according to a report on the CNBC show "American Greed," people need a prenup that is "bulletproof." The attorney has some tips on how to "bulletproof" your prenup.

Take care of the prenup early in the engagement. It should be one of the first things on your wedding to-do list. To truly have a prenup signed "free of duress," it needs to be finalized before expensive, nonrefundable wedding arrangements have been made and the invitations have gone out.

Both partners should have their own attorneys representing them. Even if one person's attorney drafts it, the other one should have his or her own attorney review it. Otherwise, one spouse can argue in a divorce that his or her interests weren't being protected.

Be completely honest about your finances. Don't exaggerate your wealth or try to hide assets. You also need to be honest about your debts. If both people aren't transparent about their financial situations, the prenup may be ruled invalid in a divorce, even if one partner unintentionally neglected to mention specific assets.

Don't include what are commonly called "lifestyle clauses." They can't be enforced under the law. A prenup isn't the place to try to control your spouse's behavior -- such as how often they can spend weekends away with friends or how much weight they can gain. Some celebrities have been rumored to have prenup clauses regarding adultery and tying a person's infidelity to receipt or payment of alimony. However, a judge won't enforce a clause like that if a spouse refuses to adhere to it.

An experienced Arizona family law attorney can help guide you through the prenup process to help ensure that your financial interests are protected and that the document is as "bulletproof" as possible.

Source: CNBC, "Here’s how to bulletproof your prenuptial agreement," Scott Cohn, March 09, 2018

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