What are the legal implications of signing a prenup?

Marriage is not just a romantic relationship -- it is a legal relationship. Once married in the eyes of the law, should a couple divorce they will have to divide their assets per the laws of their state. This is important to consider, particularly if one or both spouses have significant assets, which may be the case for spouses in Kentucky marrying later in life, if one spouse earns significantly more than the other or if one spouse owns his or her own business.

A prenuptial agreement is, in essence, a legally-binding contract. That being said, if a couple's circumstances change so that they feel that their original prenuptial agreement is no longer appropriate, they can enter into a post-nuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements can also contain provisions dictating what should be done with property should one spouse pass away.

Soon-to-be spouses interested in drafting a prenuptial agreement should each retain their own attorney. Not only can an attorney make sure all the legal Ts are crossed and Is are dotted, but by retaining your own attorney, you can receive personal advice and representation. In addition, couples drafting a prenuptial agreement must make a full disclosure of their earnings, assets and liabilities. In addition, there may be witness requirements. Moreover, individuals signing a prenuptial agreement must do so freely -- coercion could invalidate a prenup.

Also, keep in mind that certain assets cannot be divided in a prenuptial agreement. For example, if you have an Individual Retirement Account, there will be a beneficiary assigned to that account. The funds in the IRA will go to that beneficiary, even if a prenuptial agreement attempts to say otherwise.

As you can see, while prenuptial agreements are important, they should not be rushed into or made lightly. There are many important decisions to make, and you should understand the personal and financial consequences of creating a prenuptial agreement before signing one.