Loopholes to watch for in your prenup

In recent years, the number of people signing prenuptial agreements has spiked by 62%. Millennials are leading the way for that increase, with couples in their 30s opting for the once-controversial contract more than any other demographic.

A prenup is simply a contract that lets a couple determine before a marriage what happens to personal property in the event of a divorce. A homeowner keeps the house, and an inheritance goes fully to the original recipient, for example.

While prenups are largely reliable, they’re not 100% foolproof. Certain issues can render a prenup void at the time of a divorce, many of which are the result of carelessness.

These are some of the things to double check before signing a prenup, or to reassess if you’re already married:

  1. You didn’t disclose assets or property. If you left certain assets out of the contract altogether, whether by error or intentionally, your contract can be thrown out. It looks suspicious to fail to disclose everything, since this is often a tactic used to hide wealth in a divorce.
  2. Your draft contained errors. Like any legal document, a glaring mistake can void a prenup, particularly if you’ve forgotten to sign something, misworded or otherwise did a bad job drafting your document out of step with the stringent framework of an accepted contract.
  3. You didn’t sign in front of a lawyer. Not having legal representation present opens up many possibilities, including accusations of coercion or forced signing, which is another way to get your prenup tossed out entirely.
  4. It contains unrealistic expectations or declarations. Sometimes, this looks like a highly one-sided scenario. Other times, a person might try to micromanage to the point of making requests within the prenup that attempt to refuse normal court-ordered support like alimony.
  5. Circumstances have significantly changed. A judge will examine whether the prenup is still relevant to current circumstances. If there is a large enough change in some of the circumstances to call the entire document into question, it might be time to update the contract.

Many of these issues are 100% avoidable. It’s a good idea to have a divorce attorney look over your prenup to spot any potential errors or conflicts to prevent yours from getting tossed out.