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If you get a prenuptial agreement in the days before the marriage, don’t sign it!

Prenuptial Agreements, also known as ‘antenuptial agreements," are contracts entered into before marriage between a man and a woman setting forth what will happen to assets in divorce or death. Prenuptial agreements were recognized in Mississippi as early as 1859 and are enforceable like any other contract. They must be in writing.
Before any one signs a prenuptial agreement, they should consult with counsel. This is true even if the agreement is presented in the days or hours before the marriage. Persons asked to sign a prenuptial agreement in the waning moments before the marriage should see that as a red flag that they are being asked to sign something that may be quite detrimental to them. A strong case in point is the recent case of Ware v. Ware, 7 So. 3d 271 (Ct App. 2008). In that case, Ms. Ware contended she was presented with the agreement two days prior to the wedding. She did not have an opportunity to read the agreement or to have an attorney to review it. She felt "somewhat pressured" to sign the agreement. The Court held that the agreement was valid, finding that there was nothing in the record showing she was "forced" to sign the agreement. The Court also did not accept Patti’s argument that she had not read the agreement, stating, "a person is under and obligation to read a contract before signing it, and will not, as a rule be heard to complain...." More importantly, the Court held that it was not necessary that a person have independent counsel for the agreement to be valid. This case makes it clear that prenuptial agreements are serious documents which should not be signed under any circumstances on the hope that they will not be enforced.