Attorneys drafting cross-border premarital agreements occasionally overlook the importance of professional document translation and language interpreters. At its most fundamental level, a prenuptial agreement with a foreign bride or a foreign groom is nothing more than a contract and thus must conform to the basic laws of contract.
Therefore, all prenuptial agreements:
- Must be in writing.
- Must be executed voluntarily by both parties.
- Must contain a full and fair disclosure of all assets that the party has at their disposal at the time of the agreement’s execution.
- Cannot be unconscionable.
- Must be executed by the parties themselves and duly acknowledged and recorded before a notary public.
When a party to the premarital agreement is from a foreign country, there are several other specific steps that need to be followed in order to draft an enforceable prenuptial contract. When drafting a prenuptial agreement for a foreign bride marrying a U.S. citizen, in addition to the above stated requirements, the prenuptial agreement must also
- Contain an affidavit of support coming from the sponsor of the immigrating bride.
- The agreement must have a foreign language translation in the bride’s native language.
- The foreign language translation of the agreement must be attached to the original agreement.
- The foreign language translation must be an exact translation of the document on its face. If the document translation is not exact, the prenuptial agreement will be found void due to lack of mutual assent.
- If after an exact document translation is complete the bride cannot understand the terms without further explanation in her native language, the document may be found void due to a lack of clarity.
See in general: In re Marriage of Sheban, 105 Cal.Rptr.2d 863 (Cal. App. 4 Dist. 2001)