I purchased the "pre-nuptual" contract available on Findlegalforms.com . I'm satisfied with the contract provided and its' explanation, but was wondering if one has to "file" said form anywhere to be official, or having it notarized and in my possession is adequate?
3 Answers from Attorneys
Each state has specific rules regarding these prenuptial contracts, so you need to know that when they say these forms are "legal" they don't mean that they are adequate or fulfull all your needs, because each case is different. You don't necessarily have to "file" them anywhere, but they need to be properly attested for that document to be "legal". It definitely should be notarized with at least one witness, I prefer two. Whether the document itself would hold up in a court of law in a marital dissolution proceeding would be up to the particular court in the county and state and would be based on the laws in existence at that time. We have seen a lot of problems with these do it yourself contracts over the years. There are specific rules regarding prenuptial agreements that must be met for each state. These contracts are similar to wills in that, if you find they are lacking later, its too late and you'll have to live with the consequences.
I agree with Mr. Holcombe as to whether or not the form itself will hold up in court. As to filing it, there is not really a court docket book for prenups to be filed in, and Superior Courts (where divorces are handled) will not hold them until they are needed (as probate courts do with Wills). The best thing to do is to keep it somewhere safe, where no one but you or someone you trust can get it, such as a fire safe, safety deposit box, or in your lawyer's file.
You've likely wasted your money. You simply don't do prenuptial agreements with generic forms. They should be customed drafted to the laws of your state, and have the best chance of being upheld by a court where EACH party had a lawyer. There is no place to file them, but you should do mutual copies all kept in safe and separate places.
Would you rather spend a few hundred dollars to get it right, or spend a bit less online for something that may not be properly done?