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Notaries and prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements can play an important role in division of property during divorce proceedings, and any question about the validity of a signature on a prenuptial agreement can throw the document into doubt. The Legal Professionals Section spoke with Peter M. Walzer, attorney and certified family law specialist with Walzer & Melcher LLP in Woodland Hills, California, to discuss issues that may arise when notarizing prenuptial agreements.

Do prenuptial agreements require notarization?

I don’t believe there’s any requirement that a prenuptial agreement be notarized, except possibly if the agreement involves a transfer of real estate. The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act used in 28 states does not require notarization for prenuptial agreements. However, it is still prudent to have a prenuptial agreement notarized, because you don’t want to have a question come up about the identity of a signer at a later date. Maybe only one in 100 prenuptial agreements involve a dispute if a person actually signed the document, but those are the ones that are litigated.

Can proper notarization make an important difference in court if a prenup is challenged?

Yes, of course, because the Notary verifies that the signer is who he or she claims they are. If the notarization on a prenuptial agreement is done properly, including a signature and thumbprint in the Notary’s journal, that is something that will be binding in court.

What are some issues you’ve seen with notarizing these agreements?

It’s not uncommon for a Notary with an out-of-date commission to notarize a prenuptial agreement, and in my practice I’ve also observed Notaries who lost their journals and couldn’t produce the records of notarizing the document. Those situations would make an acknowledgment on a prenuptial agreement meaningless in those cases. A prenuptial agreement is effective as long as a couple is married. If the couple has been married 30 or 40 years, it may not be possible to locate the original Notary who notarized the document. I would say a Notary who notarizes a premarital agreement has a special responsibility to keep good track of their journal records.

What impartiality issues can arise when notarizing these agreements?

I think it’s common that a Notary in a law office also serves in a role as a secretary or paralegal; I assume if protocols are followed carefully and ID is always asked for regardless of who the signer is, that’s acceptable. But I don’t think it’s a good idea for an attorney who’s a Notary to notarize the signature of a client or opposing party on a prenuptial agreement. Under cross-examination, this might be considered suspect. People who may have signed a prenuptial agreement sometimes want to get out of it and if so, the Notary is an obvious target to challenge.


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10 May 2021

I just notarized a prenuptial agreement and I had to attached a separate acknowledgment since the one they provided did not have appropriate California verbiage. However, I added both names in one single certificate. Will that be a problem? I been thinking a lot about it. Is there a number or a place we can call NNA on weekends and after hours?

National Notary Association

11 May 2021

Hello. You can contact the NNA Notary Hotline Monday to Friday, from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturday, from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific Time) at 1-888-876-0827. You can also email them outside phone hours at If you are not an NNA member, you can have one question answered at no charge.

Amber Moffitt

19 Jan 2023

I was asked to sign prenup in Nevada where I am commissioned. The signers are from Arizona I believe. Can I notarized a prenup from another state?

National Notary Association

23 Jan 2023

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

Wanda Ward

18 Sep 2023

Can a Sibling sign a pre nump and be legal in South Carolina without Witnesses?

National Notary Association

19 Sep 2023

Hello. Any questions about the legality of a prenuptial agreement would need to be answered by a qualified attorney.

Jessica Crawfordhickman

26 Feb 2024

In November of 2013 my husband and I signed a prenuptial agreement a week before our wedding. Now we are in the process of divorcing and neither of us can locate our notarized copies. I need to know how can I locate the name and contact info of the notary public we went to?

National Notary Association

26 Feb 2024

Hello. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are located in?

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