Statistically, 45% of all marriages end in divorce. If those couples are lucky, they signed a prenuptial agreement before walking down the aisle. A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract that protects a couple during the divorce process. Couples sign these contracts for many reasons, including: protecting individual financial assets, fairly distributing property, determining spousal support options, and defining marital and community properties. Prenuptial agreements ultimately simplify the divorce process by reducing opportunities for conflict and saving separating couples money. But what happens if your spouse challenges the prenuptial agreement?
The court will examine the following arguments if the prenuptial agreement is challenged:
- Did your spouse sign the prenuptial agreement voluntarily?
- Did your spouse have a legal representative review the agreement prior to signing it?
- Did your spouse legally waive the right for legal representation during the drafting process?
- Did both parties fully disclose all assets, properties, and liabilities?
Unfortunately, there are circumstances where a court may declare a prenuptial agreement “unconscionable”. During the divorce process, the court is legally bound to determine if the contract is fair to both you and your spouse. This includes ensuring that stipulations in the premarital agreement don’t cause undue financial hardship to either spouse. The court invalidates any prenuptial agreements it deems unconscionable.
A prenuptial agreement may be considered invalid if:
- Spouses didn’t have separate legal representation
- It contains incomplete or false information
- A spouse was pressured to sign the agreement
- The contract wasn’t translated to account for language barriers
- Child and spousal support options are absent or limited
- Assets are missing from the contract
- A spouse didn’t receive reasonable time to review the contract
- It isn’t a formal legal document
There are two important steps you need to take during the drafting process to ensure that your prenuptial agreement will hold up in court.
- The first step is for you and your spouse to hire independent attorneys. A prenuptial agreement isn’t valid unless each party has the opportunity to review the contract with their attorney. The exception to this rule is if a spouse waives their right to legal representation in writing.
- The second step is for both parties to accurately and honestly disclose their financial assets, business interests, properties, and debt obligations. A prenuptial agreement isn’t accurate or effective if information is missing.
Schedule a Consultation
The best way to protect your interests is to have an attorney review your prenuptial agreement. After all, it’s not unusual for a couple’s circumstances to change after decades of marriage. However, there are legal requirements that must be fulfilled before a couple can amend or cancel their premarital agreement.
Contact K. Dean Kantaras, P.A. if you’re interested in drafting, amending, or canceling a premarital agreement. Our Palm Harbor lawyer is board-certified in marital law and can offer you exceptional legal guidance.
Call K. Dean Kantaras, P.A. at (727) 939-6113 to schedule a consultation today.