Beware! That prenuptial agreement may be invalid
A powerful document for divorcing couples is actually prepared before entering a marriage: a premarital agreement. Often used by many soon-to-be couples to prevent the loss of premarital assets, such an agreement can also help in resolving custody and support issues after divorce. For older couples, it can also act as an estate planning tool. Although discussing the possibility of divorce and prenuptial agreements may be difficult, this legal document has many functions and can serve in many ways.
Nevertheless, the court can invalidate a prenuptial agreement for a number of reasons. For example, the court may find substantial proof of coercion or fraudulent intent during its preparation and signing. In such an event, if the agreement would cause hardship to one of the spouses, the prenuptial agreement can be judged null and void. Californians might be interested to know that a recent ruling from another state resulted in the judge throwing out a prenup because it blatantly set up the spouse for destitution.
The court may throw out a prenuptial agreement for other reasons, such as simple mistakes. According to a recent article, careless mistakes, such as not properly filing the paperwork or signing it without proper legal representation, may render the agreement invalid.
In other cases, the prenuptial agreement may contain such ridiculous and lopsided provisions that the court is obliged to disregard it. Such agreements include, for instance, a no child support clause or provisions that discriminate and exclude a partner. Such prenuptial agreements are typically thrown out during a divorce proceeding.
For the prenuptial agreement to be valid, parties must have legal representation to review and witness the signing. The document should be written in a readable format, be conscionable and signed without coercion. It is executable only when it is based on the full disclosure of all assets and liabilities. Failure to abide by these simple requirements may result in invalidity.
For more on prenuptial agreements, people entering a marriage should work with a legal professional specializing in family law. Prenuptial agreements are often complex documents that require the focused legal knowledge of experts who can help their clients navigate the convoluted provisions of these documents and thus ensure fairness and transparency.
Source: Forbes.com, “Five reasons your prenup might be invalid,” Jeff Landers, April 2, 2013