Four reasons why a prenuptial agreement may be invalid

This article looks at four of the most common reasons why prenuptial agreements are challenged.

Prenuptial agreements are typically very hard to break. As CNBC reports, most states have adopted similar laws that make the standards for drawing up a prenuptial agreement, along with their enforceability, fairly uniform across the country. However, while successfully challenging a prenuptial agreement during a divorce is hard to do, it is not impossible. Situations arise when a court may toss out a prenuptial agreement either in part or in full. Below are the four main reasons why some prenuptial agreements get challenged.

Fraud

As Forbes reports, fraud is one of the most common reasons for challenging a prenuptial agreement. Fraud can take a number of different forms, but most often it refers to when one spouse is dishonest about how many assets and liabilities he or she has. If the other spouse isn't actually fully aware of the other spouse's financial situation, then that person would be signing a prenuptial agreement based on fraudulent premises.

Outlandish provisions

For the most part, the couple can decide for themselves what provisions are to be included in a prenuptial agreement. However, in some cases, usually due to greed, one spouse may push their luck too far. A prenuptial agreement, for example, that says that the other spouse is entitled to no child support will likely run into trouble. As will certain "lifestyle provisions," such as making alimony dependent on the other spouse's weight, hair color, or dating choices.

Duress and coercion

Another common reason why some prenuptial agreements are successfully challenged in court is due to duress and coercion. There are a number of scenarios that may count as duress or coercion. For example, one spouse may have asked the other spouse to sign the agreement just hours before their wedding, which gives little time to actually review the document and to understand what is being agreed to. Similarly, a spouse may threaten another spouse if they don't agree to sign the agreement.

Paperwork problems

Finally, a prenuptial agreement is a legal document, which makes it extremely important that all paperwork be prepared and filed properly. A prenuptial agreement that has been hastily prepared or that a qualified attorney has not looked over is far more likely to be successfully challenged in court.

Family law help

For those who are going through divorce, a family law attorney can help in a number of ways. Divorce is never an easy process, but an attorney can show clients what their legal avenues are and help them negotiate an agreement that protects their best interests both today and in the future.