Entering into prenuptial agreements is no longer considered as taboo as it was in prior decades.
Instead, couples are realizing that signing this type of contract is one of the best ways to ensure that both parties’ assets remain protected not only in the event of a divorce, but also during the marriage itself.
When drafted properly and fairly negotiated, prenuptial agreements can save couples time and money, and can also provide them with peace of mind in regards to the fate of their assets.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for prenuptial agreements to be extremely one-sided, or for one of the parties to be coerced into signing. In these cases, it is possible to eliminate the questionable provisions in the contract, or to have the entire agreement thrown out.
This area of the law tends to be complex, so if you have concerns about the validity of your own prenuptial agreement, you should consult with a dedicated marital agreement lawyer who can explain how to get a prenup thrown out.
Voiding a Prenuptial Agreement
Prenuptial agreements essentially formalize the understanding between couples who plan on getting married as to which of their assets will become marital property, which assets will remain solely in the hands of the original owner, and in the event of a divorce, which assets each party will be entitled to retain.
When couples do not abide by certain requirements while making these plans, they could end up with an invalid prenuptial agreement. Consulting with an experienced attorney is one of the best ways to prevent this.
Prenuptial agreements require that both spouses make a full disclosure of their income, assets, and debts at the time of signing. Individuals who fail to abide by these rules can have their entire agreement thrown out, which in the event of a divorce, means that the couples will have to come up with a new property division agreement.
Disclosures must also be truthful, so if a court determines that one of the parties to a prenuptial agreement was dishonest about certain assets, liabilities, or other important factors, a court could invalidate the entire agreement, as it cannot be said to represent both parties wishes and interests.
Coercion or Duress
Prenuptial agreements are only considered valid if spouses enter them voluntarily, so proof that one spouse coerced the other into signing the agreement, or that the signing took place under duress, is often sufficient evidence to have an agreement revoked.
Similarly, if the courts find that one of the parties lacked the mental capacity, whether due to illness or substance abuse, to understand the terms of a prenuptial agreement, then in all likelihood, that entire contract will be invalid.
As with any legal contract, a prenuptial agreement’s enforceability can come down to a question of whether the parties made careless errors. A prenuptial agreement can also be thrown out if drafted in such a way that the fate of certain assets is unclear, or if the parties used confusing or nonsensical language.
If only a few provisions are questionable, however, a court could consider eliminating only those provisions and leaving the rest in place. Finally, prenuptial agreements will only be considered valid if they are recorded in writing and signed by both parties.
With a few exceptions, couples can dispose of their assets in any way that they like in their prenuptial agreements. It is also true, that a prenuptial agreement can be ruled unconscionable and invalidated if its terms clearly favor one party, or are so unfair that one party would face severe financial hardship, while the other prospered.
Similarly, those who enter into prenuptial agreements are prohibited from addressing certain topics. It is, for instance, forbidden to attempt to modify the child support obligations of either spouse in a prenuptial agreement, or to include provisions that would violate the law.
In the event that a prenuptial agreement is found to contain unlawful terms, a court could choose to strike only those clauses and leave the remainder of the agreement intact.
Call Today for Help Drafting or Challenging a Prenuptial Agreement
If you already entered into a prenuptial agreement and have concerns that it may be unfair, was drafted improperly, or was not executed in a lawful manner, please call the Law Office of Ben Carrasco, PLLC at (512) 320-9126 today to learn more about how an experienced Austin, Texas divorce attorney can help protect your interests.