Prenuptial Agreements

Many newlyweds are electing to add prenuptial agreements to their marriage arrangement, and although it may seem like there is a lack of trust, the choice is often a good one to make. With high divorce rates around the country, couples can find comfort in knowing that their relationship is about love and not money. No one wants their marriage to be unsuccessful, but things change over the course of a relationship. If you are planning on getting married, then you need to find a prenuptial agreement lawyer; otherwise, the agreement may not be valid in courts when you need it most. There are three primary considerations that the courts have ruled are necessary for a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable:

  1. The prenuptial agreement is only valid as long as it was not obtained through fraud, duress, mistake, or through misrepresentation and nondisclosure of material facts.  The courts will only uphold a prenuptial agreement that was open, transparent, not rushed, and legally binding. Timing will be a factor in determining the legitimacy of the prenuptial agreement, as will the full disclosure of financial assets to both parties. Hiring legal counsel to assist you through the prenuptial agreement signing can be a significant boost to the document’s viability. However, if this document was only signed days before the marriage, the court may find that the other party did not have enough time to consult with an independent attorney.
  2. The prenuptial agreement may not be unconscionable, even if it is unfair. The legal definition of “unconscionable” is debatable, and that makes this point highly contentious. Most prenuptial agreements are unfair to some extent because one party likely has more assets and more risk from the marriage than the other spouse. Although the agreement may seem unfair, it may still be considered conscionable if a prenuptial agreement attorney was able to review the documents before signing and address this factor within the contract. 
  3. What facts and circumstances have changed since the agreement was made? The answer to this question may disqualify your prenuptial agreement if the situation has become unfair and unreasonable to uphold in the court’s opinion. As such, they will need to review the circumstances leading up to the divorce and determine what, if anything, has changed. If the prenuptial agreement is upheld, it may be with the consideration that one spouse can support the other after the divorce. The court may determine that the prenuptial agreement is unfair at the time that the party is seeking to enforce it, such as after a newly developed health condition that requires significant expenses and care.

This area of the law depends on individual circumstances, and how the prenuptial agreement was organized at the time it was signed. The best way to prevent costly mistakes from being discovered at the worst possible time is if you consult with a highly-qualified prenuptial agreement lawyer who can ensure the document has integrity with the court system.

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