Entering into prenuptial agreements is no longer considered taboo as in prior decades.
Instead, couples realize that signing this type of contract is one of the best ways to ensure that both parties’ marital assets will remain protected in the event of a divorce and during the marriage itself.
When drafted properly and fairly negotiated, prenuptial agreements can save couples time and money and provide them with peace of mind regarding the fate of their assets.
Unfortunately, prenuptial agreements are not uncommon to be extremely one-sided or for one of the parties to be coerced into signing fraudulent agreements. 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 prenuptial agreement, you should consult a dedicated marital agreement lawyer who can explain why your prenup might be thrown out.
Lack of Proper Legal Representation
Having proper legal representation is crucial when drafting a prenuptial agreement. If either party did not have the opportunity to consult with an attorney or was not adequately represented by a legal professional, a court may consider the agreement unenforceable.
Inadequate Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities
A prenuptial agreement requires both parties to disclose their assets, income, and debts fully. The agreement may be deemed fraudulent and invalidated if either party fails to provide accurate and complete information.
Coercion or Duress
For a prenup to be valid, both parties must agree voluntarily. If it can be proven that one party coerced the other into signing or that the agreement was signed under duress, the court may declare the prenup invalid.
Lack of Mental Capacity
If a party can demonstrate that they did not have the mental capacity to understand the terms and implications of the prenuptial agreement due to illness, substance abuse, or other factors, the court may invalidate the agreement.
If a prenuptial agreement contains terms deemed unconscionable or excessively unfair to one party, a court may either modify the agreement or declare it unenforceable. Examples of unconscionable terms include those that leave one party destitute while the other prospers or provisions that violate public policy.
Non-compliance with State Law
Each state has specific requirements for prenuptial agreements, such as the necessity for a written document and proper execution of the legal document. It may be deemed invalid if your prenup violates your state’s laws.
Ambiguity in the Agreement
A prenuptial agreement must be unambiguous. If the language used in the document is confusing or if the agreement contains contradictory terms, a court may consider the prenup unenforceable.
Provisions Regarding Child Custody and Support
Prenuptial agreements cannot dictate terms in divorce proceedings related to child custody or child support, as the best interests of the child and state law determine these matters. If your prenup contains provisions addressing these topics, the court may either strike those clauses or invalidate the entire agreement.
If divorce court judges say a prenuptial agreement contains illegal or against public policy, the court may choose to strike those provisions or declare the entire agreement invalid.
The enforceability of a prenuptial agreement under divorce law may be jeopardized if it is not properly executed. For example, the court may find it unenforceable if both parties did not sign, witness, or notarize the agreement.
Failure to Update the Agreement
Circumstances and marital property may change significantly throughout a marriage, and it is essential to periodically review and update your prenuptial agreement to ensure it remains valid and enforceable. If the agreement becomes outdated or does not accurately reflect the current financial situation of the parties, a court may be more likely to invalidate it.
Insufficient Time for Review and Consideration
If a prenuptial agreement is presented to one party shortly before the wedding, the court may view this as undue pressure and declare the agreement invalid. Both parties should have ample time to review, negotiate, and consider the prenup terms before signing. Providing sufficient time for review can help ensure that the agreement is entered voluntarily and with a complete understanding of the legal contract and its implications.
Call Today for Help Drafting or Challenging a Prenuptial Agreement
While prenuptial agreements can provide valuable protection for couples entering into marriage, it is essential to be aware of the potential pitfalls that can lead to the contract being invalidated. By understanding these key factors, you and your experienced attorney can take the necessary precautions to ensure that your prenuptial agreement is drafted, executed, and maintained properly, providing you and your spouse with the peace of mind and financial security you both deserve. Consult with an experienced family law attorney to help you navigate the complexities of prenuptial agreements and ensure that your interests are protected.
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) 866-1131 today to learn more about how an experienced Austin, Texas divorce attorney can help protect your interests.