What Makes a Prenuptial Agreement Invalid?
In an effort to avoid future litigation or contention about the division of assets, more and more couples are choosing to enter into prenuptial agreements before their weddings. These agreements can be a good way of ensuring that both parties’ assets are protected and can save them a substantial amount of time and money in the long run. However, before prenuptial agreements can be enforced, they must comply with certain legal requirements. When these requirements are not met, an agreement could be considered unenforceable, requiring the parties to go through more formal property division proceedings. If you have concerns that your prenuptial agreement is not valid, you should consider speaking with an experienced divorce lawyer who can evaluate your case and explain your legal options.
Creating a Legally Binding Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement will only be enforced if it is in writing and signed by both parties, which means that oral agreements between spouses are not considered valid and are unenforceable in court. Each party is also supposed to:
- Be given enough time to read the agreement in its entirety and consider the provisions before signing it;
- Be represented by separate counsel; and
- Receive a complete disclosure of each other’s financial obligations and assets.
Failing to abide by these rules could result in the entire agreement being thrown out.
Even when a prenuptial was in writing and signed by both parties, it can still be held invalid if there is evidence that:
- One of the parties did not execute the agreement voluntarily; or
- The agreement was signed under fraud, coercion, or duress imposed by the other party, his or her attorney, or family members.
Agreements that are found to be unconscionable at the time of execution are also unenforceable in court. However, before a person can have an agreement thrown out for this reason, he or she must prove that before the execution of the agreement, one party:
- Was not given a fair and reasonable disclosure of the other party’s assets and debts;
- Did not voluntarily and expressly waive a right to the disclosure of the other party’s debts and assets; and
- Did not have adequate knowledge of the other party’s financial obligations and property.
These requirements help ensure that parties are not taken advantage of or kept in the dark about each other’s assets and debts before signing a binding contract. Hiring a separate attorney can go a long way towards ensuring that these problems don’t arise and later threaten the enforceability of a prenuptial agreement.
Call Today to Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer
Although prenuptial agreements are a good way to avoid future litigation, this is only true if their contents are fair and they are entered into properly. If you believe that your agreement may not be valid, or if your spouse is attempting to have it thrown out by a court, please contact experienced Florida divorce attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 to receive a free evaluation of your case.