Following proper legal procedures
Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address
on the back of an envelope, but if you want that prenup to have
legal force, it's best to do things a little more formally.
Without a formal contract, you could
end up a lot less rich -- like director Steven Spielberg. His ex-wife,
Amy Irving, got half of what he earned during their four-year marriage
because their prenup was scribbled on a napkin and she didn't have
a lawyer. Her take: $100 million.
Here are a few more tips:
- Use only matrimonial lawyers who are familiar with
prenups and the laws of the state in which you will be living.
- Know that you cannot waive rights to child support
- Understand that your spouse's will can't supersede
the prenup if the will is stingier. But a will can be more generous
than a prenup and leave the widow or widower more than what they
agreed to before the marriage.
- Finally, and although it seems obvious, make sure
the agreement is in writing and the signing is witnessed by a
lawyer. It is recommended the contract be signed in triplicate
with the groom- and bride-to-be each getting an original copy,
and a third being kept with an independent lawyer, CPA or in a
safety deposit box.
--Posted: June 15, 1999