A prenuptial agreement, sometimes referred to as antenuptial agreement, is a contact that two people enter before they get married in an attempt to better plan for divorce. By detailing certain terms and financial responsibilities, everyone can know what to expect if the marriage does come to an end. While all states recognize premarital agreements, there are a range of reasons why a prenuptial agreement might be deemed invalid, and thus, unenforceable.
No Written Agreement
A more obvious, but still worth noting reason why a prenuptial agreement might be invalid is if it was not in writing. A prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both spouses. One spouse cannot hope to enforce an oral agreement made before the marriage.
A prenuptial agreement will also be invalid if there are signs that someone was coerced into signing it. A common example is where one person presents their prospective spouse with an agreement days before the wedding. Spouses must be given adequate time to actually read and consider the agreement, or it will be invalid.
Even if given adequate time, an agreement might still be invalid if one spouse is in any way pressured into signing an agreement. The agreement must have been entered into willingly by both spouses in order to be free of coercion.
Disclosure of financial information
Each person is also required to fully disclose all financial information to their prospective spouse before entering into the agreement. This means that both spouses must provide complete and accurate information regarding all their assets, incomes, and liabilities.
Sometimes an otherwise valid prenuptial agreement will contain invalid provisions that violate state law or public policy. This includes any provisions pertaining to child support obligations. For example, spouses cannot agree that one parent won’t be required to pay child support. Because children have a right to child support, it cannot be negotiated away by their parents. In the event an agreement does contain any invalid provisions, the remainder of the agreement can still be valid and enforceable.
Even if created and entered into correctly, a prenuptial agreement might still be unenforceable if it is unconscionable. An agreement will be considered unconscionable if it is so grossly unfair that it would cause severe financial hardship on one spouse if enforced.
Ultimately, prenuptial agreements are helpful tool that can assist with divorce process. However, you may still be able to challenge the validity of prenuptial agreement for a number or reasons. Consider contacting a divorce attorney for assistance.