For some couples, having a prenuptial agreement drafted before getting married is just part of the financial planning process. A family law attorney will assist in the drafting of the agreement, which will list each partner's debts and assets going into the marriage as well as the property rights should the couple decide to dissolve their marriage. However, there are instances in which the prenuptial agreement is not valid. If you want to ensure that your marriage is valid and your prenuptial agreement is enforced, here are a few situations that you will want to avoid.
A prenuptial agreement can be invalidated by deception. When the prenup is being drafted, it is imperative that all assets and debts are disclosed by each partner. If you keep property off the list intentionally, take certain measures to hide specific assets, or fail to provide actual income at the beginning of the marriage, these are examples of fraud.
When it comes to the validity of a prenuptial agreement, another factor that is considered by the courts is the fairness of the prenup. In the event that the terms of the agreement seem to only serve the best interests of one of the partners as opposed to both partners equally, it is possible for the agreement to be considered unfair and therefore invalid. For this reason, it is recommended for both partners to hire individual attorneys to assist in the drafting of the prenuptial agreement.
For many engaged couples, it can be pretty stressful to plan for a future divorce, but neither partner should feel pressured to sign a prenuptial agreement regardless of the circumstances. Threats of confinement, restraint, physical harm, or blackmail by a significant other or an attorney may potentially influence an individual's decision to sign on the dotted line of a prenuptial agreement. If it can be proven that the contract was executed unwillingly, it may be possible to have it thrown out in court by a family law or divorce judge.
Prenups can be only be deemed valid if they are executed prior to walking down the aisle; otherwise, you will need to have a postnuptial agreement drafted. In either case, the aforementioned situations can invalidate the agreement. If you would like to learn more about prenuptial or postnuptial agreements and how to ensure they are valid, schedule a consultation with a family law lawyer in your area.