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What could invalidate your prenuptial agreement?

Your dream of "happily ever after" died almost as soon as you said, "I do," to your spouse. You hung on for a while, hoping it would get better.

It didn't. Now, you're just glad that you had the foresight to put a prenuptial agreement in place to protect your assets and your future after a divorce.

But, is that prenup valid? Prenuptial agreements have surged in popularity over the last few years, but that doesn't mean that people always get them right. A prenup that wasn't properly drafted can be invalidated in whole or in part.

Prenups can be invalid whenever:

  • Fraud was involved: Would-be spouses are expected to play fair and honestly disclose their resources when negotiating a prenup. Hiding assets is considered fraud.
  • The terms are illegal (or simply outrageous): A prenup that is grossly unfair or contains illegal or extreme provisions is likely to be challenged and defeated. For example, a prenup that punished your spouse for gaining weight might be considered unconscionable. One that says you don't have to pay child support would be illegal.
  • One party was coerced into signing or signed under duress: There have been situations where brides have had a prenup handed to them and told to sign right before they walk down the aisle or grooms were coerced into signing while they're drunk at a bachelor party. Prenups should always be handled in a deliberate, thoughtful manner.
  • One party lacked representation: Each spouse should have their legal representative review any potential prenup before it is signed. Without that, they simply may not understand what they're signing.

If you have a prenup and you're contemplating divorce, it may be wise to discuss the situation with an experienced attorney before you announce your plans.

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