Helping Families Regain Their Strength

Prenuptial Agreements 101

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. A prenuptial agreement may also address custody and support. Prenuptial agreements were first recognized in Mississippi as early as 1859. They must be in writing and are legally enforceable like any other contract.

If you want to draft a prenuptial agreement or have been presented one by your fiancé, it is important to discuss the matter with an attorney. A Jackson prenuptial agreement attorney at Chinn & Associates can offer insight regarding your rights and options. You need to be sure that your interests are properly presented and your rights protected in a prenuptial agreement before you sign, as it could have a lasting impact on you, your financial stability, and your children if you have any.

Call our offices at (601) 202-5594 today – do not allow your rights to be jeopardized in any way. 

Have Your Attorney Review a Prenuptial Agreement BEFORE You Sign!

No matter when you are presented a prenuptial agreement, even if it is in the days or hours before your wedding, you must exercise due diligence and have an attorney carefully review it before you sign. In a recent case, Ware v. Ware, 7 So.3d 271 (Ct App. 2008), Mrs. Ware contended that she was presented the prenuptial agreement just two days before the wedding. She felt “somewhat pressured” to sign and did not have the time to review the agreement. Despite the limited time she had to review the document, the court found that there was no evidence that she was “forced” to sign and that she still had an obligation to review the contract before signing it.

The above is just one example of how important it is to have an attorney review a prenuptial agreement. These are legally binding documents that may significantly impact your divorce or separation.

Drafting a Legally Sound Prenuptial Agreement

On the other hand, a person who desires to protect assets should take precautions to make sure the agreement is above challenge. Not all cases turn out like the Ware case where an agreement was held to be valid even though the timing was close to the marriage and Mrs. Ware had no counsel. To protect the validity of the agreement, we recommend following the following steps:

  • Time the drafting of the agreement so it can be signed at least 60 days before the marriage.
  • Provide a financial statement for both parties and attach it to the agreement to ensure full financial disclosure.
  • Obtain counsel for the other party.
  • Guard against an agreement which is so one-sided it may be viewed as fundamentally unfair.
  • Film the signing and have the person state on camera that they do not feel under any pressure to sign, have received full disclosure, have had the opportunity to consult counsel and view the agreement as fair.
  • Have the parties sign “ratifications” of the Agreement after the marriage to ensure that pension waivers are valid under Federal Law.

For more information, read Mark’s article “Prenuptial Requisites” from Family Advocate Magazine, American Bar Association Family Law Section, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Winter 2002)

Now is the time to talk to a Jackson family lawyer about your rights in regard to a prenuptial agreement. Call Chinn & Associates at (601) 202-5594!

Mark Chinn Founding Attorney
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Founder of Chinn & Associates, Mark A. Chinn is a seasoned Jackson, Mississippi family law attorney who has dedicated his career to helping clients through some of the most difficult times in their lives. He is dedicated to using his talent and experience to empower his clients to lead the lives they want to lead.

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