There are no hard and fast rules, but generally, the sooner the better.
Ideally, you want to start the process at least 4 months before the wedding date. That would allow up to 3 months to prepare and finalize the agreement, with one clear month between signing the agreement and your wedding date. The idea behind the clear month is so that there is no pressure on one party to sign the agreement, and there is time after the agreement to change one’s mind if one regrets signing it.
If your financial or legal situation is more complicated, then you would want to start sooner, and if your situation is not as complicated, you may be able to start later.
If the timing is tight between the agreement and your wedding date, consult with a lawyer as to whether it is appropriate to proceed with the agreement or consider another option.
There are also other options you should consider:
1. Postponing your wedding date. I know it sucks, and I don’t think a single client I’ve recommended this to has done so, but it is often the best option, at least from a legal perspective.
2. Consider what is known as a “stand still” agreement. This is a prenuptial agreement that basically states you and your partner intended to enter into a prenup prior to your wedding, but were unable to do so due to time constraints. The two of you plan on entering into a prenup after the wedding. The agreement states that if the marriage ends, then you and your partner are to be in about the same position as if the marriage had not occurred. The stand still agreement expires after a time period (typically 6 months to one year), which is the deadline for you and your partner to enter into a properly negotiated prenuptial agreement. If you and your partner do not enter into a prenuptial agreement during this time, you can make the decision whether to end the marriage, or continue the marriage without a prenup.
3. Enter into a postnuptial agreement. This means that you wait until after your marriage to enter into the agreement. You can read more about post nups here. As that article states, courts are a bit more cautious about agreements entered into after marriage. However, if the agreement is entered into in a few weeks after marriage, it is normally not as big a deal. By waiting until after marriage, you remove the concerns about an agreement being signed under duress due to timing. To choose this option, you must be confident that your partner will still sign the agreement after you get married.
You’re Invited to Call or E-Mail!
If you’re considering a prenuptial agreement — or have already made your decision — you’re invited to call or email us. We’ll explain for free how you can protect your assets and plan your estate. You can call us toll-free at 855-PRENUP-4 or email us using our contact form here. We can help you anywhere in Ontario, including Ottawa, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, and Hamilton.