Prenuptial agreements are an effective way to
protect your assets and set some useful guidelines upfront, just in case you ever decide to
divorce your spouse. If you had the foresight to draft one, you deserve
some congratulations, as many couples overlook them. However, you should
also be aware that no legal document is ever guaranteed to hold up in
court, and there may be some reasons why your carefully drafted prenup
is actually considered null and void now.
Five reasons your prenuptial agreement might be invalid are:
Underhandedness: A prenup is drafted under the pretense that all assets have been fully
disclosed to each spouse. If it is discovered later that your spouse intentionally
hid some assets when the prenuptial agreement was drafted, the whole thing
will likely be considered unusable by the court, potentially punishing
you both in the process.
Duress: Prenuptial agreements are only worth anything if both spouses actually
agree to what it says. If there is evidence that the prenup was signed while
one spouse was under duress or coercion from the other, a judge won’t
likely honor it. The same can be said if one of the spouses was considerably
ill or addicted to drugs at the time. It all comes down to signing something
while all parties have the mental capacity to understand what it says.
Clerical errors: Did someone forget to sign along the right line? Was the prenup paperwork
filed in the wrong manner or to the wrong court? Any number of serious
clerical errors could void out an otherwise perfect prenuptial agreement.
Rookie mistake: Family law courts prefer to see and uphold documents that have been reviewed
by legal professionals and signed in their presence. If you didn’t
have an attorney to help you with drafting your prenuptial agreement,
you might be able to argue that it should be considered invalid, as you
didn’t fully understand its implications when it was made. This
also means that verbal prenups are not valid – get it in writing.
Unusable provisions: What a prenuptial agreement actually says weighs heavily on whether or
not it will be accepted by the court. Something that is ridiculous –
“I get to keep 75% of the finances if my spouse changes their hair
color” – or something that is clearly one-sided – “I
get to keep the family home, family business, and the family car, but
my spouse gets the TV” – will be tossed out by a judge in a second.
If you want a prenuptial agreement that you know will be legally valid,
you should work with TJC ESQ and our Rhode Island family law attorneys.
Headquartered in Providence, we have been serving clients since 1989.
Contact us today for all your prenup,
family law needs.