How to File a Prenuptial Agreement

By Josie Myers
Prenuptials, the ceremony

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Prenuptial agreements were once thought to only be used by wealthy individuals. With divorce rates at an all-time high and relationships often consisting of two working individuals, all that has changed. Prenuptial agreements are now seen as a practicality and are therefore more commonplace. Creating an agreement can save both parties from undue stress, complications and lengthy court battles if a divorce comes at some point in the future. No one likes to think of divorce before the white dress has even been fitted, but considering all future possibilities is a smart move for everyone.

Talk to your spouse-to-be and make sure you both agree on signing a prenuptial agreement. Be open and honest about your concerns, intentions and feelings regarding the agreement. Prepare a list of the things each of you would like to see in the document before consulting with a lawyer. It will save you time and money to have some sense of agreement before going to a legal office.

Obtain legal counsel for each of you. To best protect your individual interests, you should each have your own attorney. Take your written ideas with you to the consultation. The lawyers may have suggestions for alterations based on their experiences, but having ideas on paper will speed up the process and make it easier to draft an agreement both of you will approve of. Highly complicated agreements could take several drafts, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time before the wedding to get this completed.

Take the final document to a notary public. In order to stand up in court, the document must be signed, witnessed and notarized by a licensed authority. You should obtain at least two copies of the agreement, one for each of you. Some people prefer to have three or four copies to give to neutral parties for safekeeping.

Do not file the document with the courts. It does not require court authorization to be valid and only needs to be filed within the court system if divorce proceedings occur. Instead, file the finalized and notarized draft in a safe place of your choice. Many lawyers suggest a fireproof safe as the best option and filing copies in two or more different locations.

Check with your state laws to see if ir requires prenuptial agreements to be updated. Since individual finances can change drastically from year to year, some states require agreements be updated or they will not stand up in court. If necessary, refile as directed by your lawyer.

About the Author

Josie Myers has been a freelance writer and tutor since 2008. A mother of three, she was a pre-kindergarten teacher for seven years, is a Pennsylvania-certified tree tender and served as director of parks in her local municipality. Myers holds a Bachelor of Arts in music and business from Mansfield University and a Master of Arts in English from West Chester University.

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