This is the time of year when a lot of couples get engaged. If you’re newly engaged – or about to pop the question – you’re probably not thinking about a prenuptial agreement. However, you don’t want to wait too long.
One of the things that can cause a judge to invalidate a prenup if it’s challenged is if a spouse can show that it was presented to them just before the wedding. No one should feel pressured into signing a prenup or not given sufficient time to get a legal review.
Another factor that can invalidate the whole thing is if it has passed an expiration date. This is commonly known as a “sunset clause.” This clause certainly isn’t required in a prenup and may not be advisable. However, some couples include them because they figure that if they stay married for 10 years, 20 years or some given length of time, they’ll be together forever. They may believe that the provisions they’ve codified in their prenup will no longer be relevant after a number of years.
The problem is that many people do divorce after long marriages. If you have a sunset clause that causes your prenup to expire on your tenth wedding anniversary, your prenup is worthless after that.
Replacing your prenup with a postnup later
While you can’t specifically “renew” a prenup, you can develop a postnuptial agreement at any point after you get married that will replace your prenup. If you want to have a sunset provision in your prenup, then it’s wise for both of you to sit down and review it before the expiration date and determine whether to get a postnup that reflects your current situation. One of you may have started a company and begun earning significantly more money than the other. One of you may have decided to be a stay-at-home parent and remained largely out of the workplace. Life will change in ways you can’t predict.
Whether or not you choose to have a sunset provision is up to you. However, if you do, it’s crucial not to forget about it. It’s also important to remember that you can always protect both of your interests at any point during your marriage by replacing your prenup with a solid postnuptial agreement.