Finalizing a prenup takes about 2 to 3 months, but set aside more time to have a thorough prenup talk with your partner.

Here’s my time-tested approach to prenups, empowering you to step into your marriage confidently.

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Start The Prenup Conversation Early

Couple talking about prenups

The sooner you talk about prenups, the easier it will be to streamline the process.

While asset and finance division in the event of divorce is a part of prenuptial agreements, more importantly, prenups are a vital opportunity to dive deep into subjects like family financial planning during your marriage.

When discussing a prenup agreement, you should sit down as a couple, pencil out your current assets, income, and spending, and discuss your goals for yourselves, your family, your fulfillment, and your security.

A part of this conversation should also include what the laws in your state are, and whether or not you and your partner want those laws to govern your marriage.

Think of your prenup as a means for discovery within your relationship. This is the chance to get on the same page with your future spouse about spending habits, financial goals, and future planning.

Here are a few starter questions to consider from my Prenuptial Agreement Planner, a comprehensive guide to building your perfect prenup:

  • How often and how much do you contribute to your savings?
  • What are your current debts?
  • Do you ever receive financial support from a family member?
  • What are your sources of income?
  • How much do you spend monthly on entertainment, pets, and self-care?
  • How will you differentiate between individual and joint expenses?
  • Who’s responsible for handling household bills?
  • How many kids do you want to have? How will you account for this financially?
  • Do either of you plan to take time off from work when/if you have a child? Will that be temporary or permanent?

These conversations take time and care and shouldn’t be rushed for the sake of tying up loose ends before your wedding day. Give yourself a week or two to carefully talk through the main points of your prenup with your partner.

The Prenup Process, Summarized

Making a list of assets

The process and timeline for creating a prenuptial agreement vary based on the complexity of your finances as a couple, the laws of the state where you live, the level of communication between you and your partner, and how quickly you agree on the terms.

Following your in-depth prenup discussion, here’s a general outline of the expected timeline for finalizing a prenup.

1. Inventory of Assets and Liabilities (1-2 Weeks)

Each partner must compile a comprehensive list of their individual assets and liabilities and provide full financial disclosure.

This includes bank accounts, investments, business interests, real estate, debts, and any other financial obligations or resources. Full transparency is crucial for forming a fair and legally binding premarital agreement.

2. Consultation with Attorneys (1-3 Weeks)

Both parties should hire separate attorneys who specialize in family law or specifically in prenuptial agreements.

A family law attorney will provide professional legal advice, ensure the agreement meets state laws, and advocate for your best interests.

3. Drafting the Agreement (2-4 Weeks)

This involves negotiating terms covering asset division, spousal support, and any other financial arrangements you wish to include.

Ideally, you’ll have covered most of these topics during your sit-down discussion before the drafting stage to make sure that the first draft of the agreement reflects what you and your partner both want to include.

4. Review and Revision (1-2 Weeks)

Once you complete your draft, both parties should thoroughly review the agreement with their respective attorneys. This is the time to request changes or discuss terms requiring clarification.

5. Final Agreement and Signing (1 Week)

After reviewing and making any necessary revisions, both partners sign the prenuptial agreement after the final agreement sits, untouched, for the statutory 7-day waiting period.

This should be done well before the wedding—ideally at least 30 days—to avoid any claims of duress that could invalidate the agreement later, but it must be signed prior to the legal marriage.

6. Notarization and Witnesses (1 Day)

Finally, the agreement is notarized and, depending on state requirements, signed before witnesses. This formalizes the document, making it legally binding.

The entire process typically takes 2 to 3 months, depending on the level of communication between you and your partner, the complexity of your finances, and the efficiency of your legal counsel.

Getting an early jump on prenup discussions will further expedite the process, so I recommend starting those talks ASAP.

What If It’s Too Late to Get a Prenup?

Question mark

Perhaps the prenup process takes longer than expected, or you considered getting a prenup a little too close to your wedding date.

Whatever the case, you have a couple of options if it’s too late to notarize your prenup before your marriage.

1. Get a Postnup After Marriage

Even though each state may have its limitations as to what can go into a postnuptial agreement, this type of marital agreement is a legally binding agreement outlining asset planning and division after marriage. It’s essentially a prenuptial agreement after you say, “I do.”

There’s no timeline for establishing a postnup — you can get one at any point after you’re married, but ideally, you enter into the postnuptial agreement as close to the wedding date as possible.

2. Wait To Sign Your Marriage License

Your wedding symbolizes your union, and your marriage license legally binds you to one another.

This means you have the option to move forward with your ceremony and party but hold off on signing your marriage license and certificate until you finalize your prenup.

Final Word: Don’t Rush Your Prenup

Slow road

Your prenuptial agreement is a lifelong document that should be approached carefully and thoughtfully as a couple.

Keep in mind your alternatives if you’re feeling pressed for time, and resist the urge to expedite your prenup for the sake of having it done. The last thing you want is a sloppy or disadvantageous document that takes more time and money to revise after the fact.

Book a consultation call with me, and I’ll gladly walk you through your options for creating a thoughtfully curated prenuptial agreement.

Remember, your prenup should be tailored to your and your partner’s needs and leave you feeling great about entering the next phase of your relationship.

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