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Can a Judge Invalidate a Prenuptial Agreement?

prenuptial agreement

While no one expects their marriage to end in divorce, many couples, especially those with a high net worth, take a proactive approach and devise a prenuptial agreement just in case. A prenuptial agreement, or premarital agreement, is designed to protect property and assets in the event of a divorce and is legally binding, under most circumstances. However, are there any instances where a prenuptial agreement can be invalidated? Today, we discuss what circumstances could cause a judge to invalidate and/or overturn a prenuptial agreement.

Reasons a Judge Could Invalidate a Prenuptial Agreement

The three most common grounds for nullifying a prenuptial agreement are:

  • Unconscionability
  • Failure to disclose information
  • Duress and coercion

A Family Court judge must determine that a premarital agreement was involuntary, unconscionable, or signed under duress to be invalidated. Additionally, the information contained within the prenuptial agreement must be accurate. Failing to disclose information, such as major assets can result in the agreement being overturned.

You cannot also provide fraudulent information or make false promises. An individual who signed a prenuptial agreement under duress or coercion has legal grounds to ask for the court to invalidate the agreement. A prenuptial agreement that only benefits one spouse leaving the other without anything will also not be granted.

Overturning a Prenuptial Agreement

It should be noted that there are no set rules that govern what can overturn a prenuptial agreement, however; there are circumstances that must be met while creating the prenuptial agreement for it to be legally enforceable. If a mistake is made, or if a step is not taken while generating the agreement itself, this would then be considered grounds to invalidate it. The following steps must be taken for a prenup to be considered valid and thus, legally enforceable:

  • Be prepared and executed in writing to be valid
  • Signed in front of witnesses and notarized
  • Must be understood by both parties; either party cannot be in a state of duress
  • Marriage itself must be legitimate
  • Must be entered into voluntarily
  • Cannot contain vague or inconclusive language

Overturning a Prenuptial Agreement

If you and your spouse change your mind after signing a prenuptial agreement and would like to overturn it, you can do so. You could also sign a new agreement after suspending the original. Additionally, in some cases, a judge may overturn a prenuptial agreement in the event of unforeseen circumstances where one spouse’s health has changed significantly since the original agreement was created.

Why Hire an Attorney to Draft a Prenuptial Agreement?

As mentioned above, there are many reasons why a prenuptial agreement can be invalidated. For peace of mind, it would behoove you to secure the experienced counsel of an attorney. Here are some additional reasons why it would be beneficial to hire an attorney for help:

  • Ensure your prenuptial agreement is valid
  • Help you devise an agreement that reflects your interests and protects your most important assets
  • Understand the benefits and risks of the agreement
  • Assist with prenuptial agreement negotiations

Consult with a Knowledgeable Attorney on Our Team

If you need assistance devising or modifying a prenuptial agreement, you will need to retain the services of a skilled family law firm. At McIntyre Tate LLP, our family law attorneys are experienced in handling prenuptial agreements and can determine if your agreement is valid. Additionally, we can help you craft a prenuptial agreement that is legitimate and legally binding so you need not be concerned with the potentiality it may be invalidated or overturned at some point in the future. With over 150 years of collective experience, we have the knowledge, professionalism, and results to assist you with all your family law matters.

Contact us online or call our office at (401) 351-7700 to schedule an initial consultation with our firm.