When an Ohio couple gets a divorce, they will inevitably face myriad challenges as they go through the process. These are exacerbated if it is a couple with substantial assets. A high-asset divorce may have disputes over a business, bank accounts, real estate holdings, retirement accounts, collectibles and other valuable areas of property division. Support is also a consideration for couples with major assets. In many of these cases, there was a prenuptial agreement. Even with that, disputes can arise as to whether it is enforceable. Whether it is from the perspective of the spouse who brought the assets into the union or the less fortunate spouse, having legal protection to assess the available options is key.
Key legal points about prenuptial agreements
When a prenuptial agreement is a topic for dispute in a divorce, there are several key factors that must be considered. A common cause for calling the agreement into question is if it is valid and enforceable. For it to be considered valid and enforceable, it must have been agreed to willingly. Fraud, coercion or duress could not have been used to get the person to sign. The full breadth of information regarding the assets must have been disclosed from the start. These must be understood in value, nature and extent. Finally, the terms cannot give benefit if there is a divorce. For the person who would be at a disadvantage by signing the agreement, her or she must have had a chance to discuss it with independent counsel before signing.
It is important to understand “disproportionate results.” This means that if, due to the agreement, the person receives disproportionately less than he or she would have if equitable distribution was the determining factor, then the side that claims the prenuptial agreement to be valid has the burden of proof to show that full disclosure was given before it was signed. If fraud or duress is alleged, the side challenging the agreement has the burden of proof. If the request to sign the agreement was given within a short time prior to the wedding and there would be problems due to families arriving for the wedding and similar considerations if it was postponed, then this could be construed as coercion.
The complexities of prenuptial agreements warrant experienced guidance
A divorce is enough of an emotional and personal upheaval on its own without worrying about how a prenuptial agreement will impact the settlement. While some cases are easily navigated and the agreement holds up, that is not always the case. Having guidance and advice from professionals who are dedicated, committed and have integrity to serve their clients can be a fundamental part of achieving a satisfactory resolution whether it is the person who had the bulk of the assets entering the marriage or the person who did not. Contacting a family law firm for advice is a wise first step.