Prenuptial agreements can be an important tool that serves to protect individual spouses before they get married. We have discussed the value of having a prenuptial agreement in previous posts on this blog and know that they have saved many couples a lot of time and money in the event of a divorce.
We also know that discussing the terms of a prenuptial agreement can be difficult for two people who are about to start their lives together as a married couple. Some people just want to get it over with and just draw up whatever terms they feel like and sign whatever document they are asked to sign. However, these can both prove to be big mistakes. All that work, stress and discussion may go down the drain if a prenup is determined to be invalid.
In general, there are three categories of why a prenup may be challenged and/or dismissed.
1) It’s inaccurate: Both parties must fully disclose the information that is included in a prenup. If one person lies or fails to include all the information about his or her earnings, assets or debts, the document may not be enforced.
2) It’s incomplete: A prenuptial agreement may not be enforced if it is incomplete. A prenup must be in written form, signed by both parties before they get married and include all necessary information. It must also be reviewed by both parties and their legal representatives.
3) It was improperly created: Many times, a prenup is determined to be invalid if one party was coerced into signing something he or she was not able to review or does not agree to. Additionally, if the document includes invalid provisions, such as child support or grossly unfair financial terms, it may be successfully challenged.
Taking the initiative to create a prenuptial agreement can be a strong choice for any couple who is about to get married. However, all that work can be for naught if the prenuptial agreement is not properly drafted, reviewed, signed and enforced. Many couples are using a family law mediator to help them with their agreement. This approach allows for more transparency between the parties and a clearer understanding of the terms of the agreement.
In order to avoid making mistakes that could invalidate a prenup, it can be wise to consult an attorney before agreeing to anything. Conversely, any person who feels bound by the terms of an invalid prenup may also want to speak with an attorney to better understand his or her rights for challenging it in court.
Source: FindLaw, “Top 10 Reasons a Premarital Agreement May be Invalid,” accessed on Nov. 4, 2014