Factors that Could Lead to an Invalid Prenup
Although U.S. divorce rates have been in decline in the new millennium, many people still find it advisable or beneficial to create prenuptial agreements that protect their interests and assets in case a divorce happens. It’s true that prenups can be useful agreements to protect people from the harmful fallout of a divorce. However, certain elements of a prenup could lead to the agreement being invalidated by the courts.
The following are a few of the factors that could lead to an invalidated prenup:
All legal contracts have an implied “good faith” requirement, and both sides must honestly represent their positions when entering the agreement. With a prenup, this means a full, honest disclosure of all assets owned upon entering the marriage.
Negotiation of a prenup includes determining what happens to all current and future assets and earnings. A failure to accurately disclose current assets or the values of these assets could be considered fraud. This could lead to a judge invalidating the entire agreement.
A court will invalidate any agreement entered because there was undue pressure on one or more of the parties who signed it. Coercion can be difficult to prove, especially if it comes down to one person’s word against another. But when proven, it invalidates the contract because it was not a reflection of the intent of at least one of the parties.
In some cases, courts will invalidate prenups based on gross inequality or the contract lacking basic fairness. This is the most difficult argument to make when seeking the invalidation of a prenup. The agreement being more favorable to one of the parties is not enough reason for it to be invalidated. That inequality must be so large that the court considers it “unconscionable.”
Questions the court will consider include whether each spouse had his or her own attorney to examine the agreement, if all disclosures were made in good faith and if there were any clauses that could not withstand a legal challenge.
To learn more about prenups and how to develop a valid agreement, contact a skilled Nassau County family law attorney with Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.