Given the high rate of divorce in the United States and its impact on one’s finances or assets, many people today consider a prenuptial agreement (prenup) before getting married. Though this might be an excellent way to protect yourself from losing your assets in case of a divorce, it may not always work in your favor. Having a prenup is not a guarantee that you will not lose all your assets in the event of a divorce. The court can declare some prenuptial agreements invalid after considering several factors.
If you are going through a divorce and have a prenup, you will need a family law lawyer to help you enforce a prenup if it is valid. Your lawyer will advise you on the law and what you need to do if it is invalid. Here are some of the factors that can make your prenup invalid.
The Prenup Is Fraudulent or Was Signed Under Duress
During the divorce process, the court or the other party’s lawyer will review the prenuptial agreement to determine its validity. If the other party claims and can prove that they signed it while under duress or were coerced to sign it, the agreement can be declared invalid. For instance, if the other party signed it while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, was mentally unstable, or were threatened to sign, they can contest it.
The prenup can also be invalid if it was signed without two witnesses and a notary.
There Are Undisclosed Income and Assets
One thing that can help enforce a prenup is an accurate record of a partner’s assets and income. If you fail to disclose all your assets in the agreement, and your partners happen to know about their existence, the prenup can be nullified by the court. Therefore, it is essential to disclose all that you own to allow a fair settlement or verdict. You cannot enforce the prenup if you hid some assets from your partner when you created it.
The Prenup Is Too One-Sided
Though most courts do not consider what is fair in the prenup as long as it was legally and rightly signed, they can nullify the document if it is extremely one-sided. This mostly happens if one party gets everything while the other walks away with nothing. A judge can also nullify a prenup if it has some absurd clauses such as weight gain, movement limitations, or a partner’s permitted activities.
For a prenuptial agreement to hold up in court it has to be reasonable. If it is not, the judge can disregard it. If you have signed a prenuptial agreement with your partner, but you are hoping to have it thrown out in your divorce proceedings, a qualified attorney is experienced enough to advise you on the matter.
It Was not Properly Filed or Had Clerical Errors
A prenup is a legally binding document that has to be handled in a specific way. The law governs how the document should be signed and filed for it to be legally binding. If you drafted your prenup hastily and filed it, it may contain some clerical errors or other errors that will have it nullified. It is vital to consult a lawyer before drafting a prenup to ensure that it is properly prepared and filed according to your state laws. This way, it will contain all legal provisions and will be recognized by the court.
Consult an Experienced Family Lawyer
If you are going through a divorce and you want to enforce your prenuptial agreement, you need to talk to your divorce lawyer to review the document and help you determine if it will hold up in court. Your lawyer will consider the state laws and advise you on your legal options concerning the prenup. If the other party successfully contests the document, your lawyer will also help ensure that you get a fair settlement.
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