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When can a prenuptial agreement be invalidated?

More and more people in Houston and around the United States are taking advantage of premarital or postmarital contracts these days when entering a marriage. For many, a prenuptial agreement offers more than a way to protect assets during a potential divorce. It can be an extremely useful estate planning tool, especially for people with children from prior marriages, for example. These contracts can also help to protect businesses as well as individuals.

Every state’s laws differ but in general a prenuptial agreement will be the primary guiding vehicle for a divorce agreement. This will be the case if the document is considered legally binding by the court. Some situations can invalidate a prenup. One such situation could be the lack of proper legal representation by both parties. Each person really should have his or her own separate attorney when drafting marital agreements. Additionally, a full disclosure of assets by both parties must take place.

Coercion or undue stress could be identified for contracts that were signed only days before a marriage took place or if other circumstances were found to be present. Judges may also ignore a prenuptial agreement’s stipulations if they are found to favor one spouse too heavily over the other spouse. Promises made in a prenuptial agreement whether regarding marital property or some other topic are also expected to be kept and, if not, could lead to the agreement not being valid.

Dating couples who are considering a prenuptial agreement may wish to talk to an attorney well in advance of an engagement in order to learn how this contract can benefit them. There is no single marital contract that works for everyone and the right legal help can make sure every couple gets the agreement they need.

Source: Newsday, “Prenuptial agreement supersedes marital law,” Lynn Brenner, May 2, 2014

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