How to Compose a Prenup Agreement Without Hiring a Lawyer?

A prenuptial agreement, commonly known as a prenup, is a legal contract drawn up before marriage outlining how assets and liabilities would be divided in case of separation or divorce. Technically, you can write a prenup without a lawyer, but it involves a detailed understanding of enforceable laws specific to state jurisdictions. Let’s navigate how to draft a valid prenup yourself.

Preliminary Considerations

Timing: Time is a crucial element in drafting a prenup. It’s advised to start 3-6 months before the wedding. This allows for thoughtful negotiation and avoids pressure and last-minute panic. A rushed prenup might lead to enforceability problems down the road.State-specific rules: Some states require a specific amount of time between finalizing the agreement and the wedding day. This is to avoid the chance of coercion or pressure to sign. In California, for example, there’s a unique 7-day rule between the finalization of the agreement and the signing of it.
writing on computer

Writing the Prenup

Written agreement: The agreement must be in writing. Verbal prenups are typically unenforceable across states.Topics to include: Prenups usually cover financial aspects such as property division, debt allocation, and other topics like:
  • Primary residence
  • Businesses
  • How to file taxes as a married couple
  • Confidentiality
  • Pet custody

Remember that certain clauses including child support, child custody, clauses incentivizing divorce, or illegal acts must not be included in your prenup.

Financial disclosure: Both partners must disclose all of their assets and liabilities, which is done via a financial schedule attached at the end of your prenup. It helps to comply with state requirements and protects your prenup from being tossed out in court due to insufficient disclosure.Autonomous signing: Both parties must freely and voluntarily sign the contract, initialing every single page. For added protection and validity, get your prenup notarized by a Notary Public.

Things to Avoid

Unlawful terms: Do not include provisions against the law or public policy such as punishing your spouse for infidelity, or clauses that dictate child support terms.Unconscionable provisions: Avoid extremely unfair provisions that could lead to the entire agreement being tossed out. There must be a fair balance and not a situation where one party enjoys a luxurious lifestyle while leaving the other destitute.Coercion or duress: Do not pressure or force your partner to sign the agreement. Coercion or undue pressure could invalidate the agreement.
pencil writing


While drafting a prenup without a lawyer is possible, it’s vital to remember that laws vary from state to state and understanding them thoroughly is crucial to creating an enforceable prenup. You can create your own laws to govern your marriage rather than becoming subject to existing community property laws. Be open, honest, and fair for the prenup to protect both parties’ rights and interests. Remember, a well-crafted prenup is a security blanket that can protect your future, avoid disagreements, and help in maintaining an amicable relationship.

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