Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement, commonly referred to as a prenup, is a legal contract a couple signs before they are married to specify how they want to manage their assets and debts in the event that their marriage ends by death or divorce.

A prenuptial agreement offers legal protection for both you and your future spouse.  It is a responsible and practical consideration, just like estate planning.  Marriage is a legal contract, and if your marriage unfortunately ends, the courts will decide your rights if you cannot agree.  

If you or your spouse owns a business or have significant separate assets, a prenuptial agreement may be right for you.  In your prenup, you will specify how your assets and debts will be divided and you can protect your business interests so you do not have to sell if you ever divorce.  Many couples who have been through a previous divorce and couples that have children from prior relationships find prenuptial agreements to be invaluable to preserve their assets for their children.  

Prenuptial agreements can be structured in many different ways, and it is important to ensure your agreement is carefully crafted to meet the unique needs of the family you are starting.  A prenuptial agreement can account for your future plans such as one spouse staying home to raise children, saving for retirement, and investing in your future both as individuals and as a married couple.  It is important to make sure that you understand your legal rights and the specific terms of your prenuptial agreement.  

Schedule a consultation with experienced attorney Mary Lewis Turner to discuss your options today.

Frequently asked questions

Can I sign a prenuptial agreement after I am married?

No.  In Ohio, you must sign a prenuptial agreement before you are married.  You must sign it well in advance of your wedding date to ensure that it will be legally enforceable.

Is it a bad sign to be talking about getting divorced before we are even married? I’m worried that if I ask for a prenup, my fiancé may think I do not trust them.

Absolutely not.  A prenuptial agreement can ensure you do not lose your financial security in case you unexpectedly divorce.  A prenup does not mean that you do not love or trust your partner.  In fact, a prenup ensures both you and your fiancé are protected if you ever divorce by establishing your legal rights and expectations up front.  While you certainly expect your marriage to be successful, it doesn’t hurt to have a prenuptial agreement just in case.  You must sign a prenuptial agreement before you are married, because if you find yourself in a situation where you realize you need one, it will be too late.

Can you have only one attorney for a prenuptial agreement? My fiancé and I have an agreement, we just need a lawyer to draft the paperwork. Can you do this?

Yes, but an attorney can only provide legal advice to one person, not both parties.  I can draft the paperwork for both you and your fiancé.  If you already have an agreement, it should not be an issue if you do not both have an attorney.  However, if you have a disagreement over the terms in the prenup, I can only advise and represent one person.  The person I do not represent may hire their own attorney to advise and represent them.  Some couples will hire me to draft the prenuptial agreement, and the person I do not represent will hire their own attorney simply to review the prenuptial agreement and advise them before they sign it.

My fiancé’s attorney drafted a prenuptial agreement, and I just want you to review it to let me know if there is anything I should be concerned about. Is this possible?

Yes.  I can review a prenuptial agreement drafted by another attorney and provide legal advice regarding your rights and options.  I will answer your questions and ensure you feel confident that your agreement is accurately reflected in the document you sign.  After our meeting, you may decide that you are comfortable with proceeding on your own without further representation, or you may decide to retain me to negotiate on your behalf if needed.

How long does it take to complete a prenuptial agreement?

The time it takes to complete a prenuptial agreement depends on how long it takes you and your fiancé to reach an agreement.  You want to begin the process early so that you can sign your prenup well in advance of your wedding date.  These typically take several weeks to complete.  If you sign your prenup the day of your wedding or close to it, it may not be legally enforceable.  Courts have found that prenuptial agreements signed on the day of a wedding or extremely close to a wedding may have been signed under duress and are not legally enforceable.  Give yourself plenty of time to negotiate and finalize the terms of your prenuptial agreement so you can enjoy your wedding planning and begin your marriage with confidence.

The material on this webpage has been prepared by Lewis Legal Solutions for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific matter.  No attorney-client relationship is implied or created by the information found on this website.  Lewis Legal Solutions practices law within the state of Ohio.  Individuals should seek the advice of legal counsel licensed in their state.