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What is sufficient to invalidate a prenuptial agreement?

Baseball fans in Houston are likely aware of former major leaguer Andruw Jones' solid reputation behind the plate. Since leaving the American baseball scene, Jones has gained attention for a serious family law issue involving his wife of 10 years.

According to reports, Jones has been accused of physically harming and threatening his wife. On Christmas morning the former athlete and his wife got into a fight that eventually resulted in his wife making the decision to report the domestic incident to police and file for divorce. As a condition of the divorce, Jones' wife wishes to nullify their prenuptial agreement.

The divorce court documents indicate that the couple is splitting up because their relationship is "irretrievably broken." In the legal filing, there is no mention of the incident of domestic violation. Despite some of the challenges recently encountered by the couple, the wife wishes to maintain "joint legal and primary custody" of their 9-year-old son.

Generally speaking, prenuptial agreements address the financial side of divorce, rather than custodial issues. By invalidating the current agreement in place, Jones' spouse would like to receive alimony and half of the couple's marital property.

At this point, it is unclear under what grounds the wife seeks to invalidate the prenuptial agreement. Most often, the way the agreements are invalidated is if the document includes provisions that aren't allowed under state laws, one spouses didn't fully disclose their finances or one party was coerced into signing the agreement. When errors such as this are made, then a family law court may consider it unenforceable at the time of divorce.

As the baseball player and his wife move through the divorce process, the hope is that they can resolve their disputes amicably. This way, they can move forward and ensure their child adjusts well to the changes.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Wife of ex-Brave Andruw Jones files for divorce," Kate Brumback, Jan. 2, 2013

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