How Can a Prenuptial Contract Be Declared Unenforceable?
If you keep up with celebrity news, you may have read about prenuptial agreements being contested in court.
You might be asking why an agreement would even be contested in the first place. These are formal agreements that were signed by both parties and, presumably, drafted by solicitors. Are they not unbreakable?
Yes, in a lot of instances. However, there are many grounds for invalidating a prenuptial agreement. You must get help from a Milwaukee divorce attorney.
Timing, consideration, and legal counsel issues
If contested later, a prenuptial agreement’s apparent legality depends on how and when it is presented. The decision to sign could be viewed as coercion if one party unexpectedly presents the other with a prenuptial agreement just days before the wedding, for example, as failing to do so would result in the wedding being called off at the last minute. There might not be enough time to consider the contract in depth and speak with a lawyer about it.
The partner proposing the prenuptial agreement should do the following to prevent validity issues in the future:
- Introduce the agreement’s concept and actual language well in advance of the wedding (ideally before invites are distributed).
- Allow the other party enough time to read, consider, and decide what they agree to.
- To avoid conflicts of interest, have the opposite party consult with a separate lawyer who is not affiliated with the partner who proposed the prenup.
To avoid issues of this nature, be sure to discuss timing and consideration with your lawyer if you are considering signing a prenuptial agreement.
The contract contains void clauses or is unfair.
Although prenuptial agreements can be substantially customized, not simply any clause can be added. These agreements typically have to deal with financial issues that affect the relationship, albeit even those issues have restrictions. Prenuptial agreements often cannot include:
- Any judgments pertaining to child support or custody (a court must make these decisions at the time of divorce)
- agreement of one spouse to forego the claim to spousal maintenance
- any clauses requesting or forcing any party to take any unlawful action
A judge may also annul a prenuptial agreement if they deem it “unconscionable.” Both parties must be treated fairly and reasonably in these agreements. A prenuptial agreement would almost probably be ruled unconstitutional if it was constructed in a way that effectively guaranteed one spouse would be impoverished after the marriage ended.
Before drafting or executing a prenuptial agreement, seek legal advice.
Any contract is only useful if it can be upheld in court. Therefore, it is wise to spend money on a knowledgeable family law expert’s assistance and advice if you are preparing or exploring a prenuptial agreement.