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Will Your Prenuptial Agreement Hold Up in Court?

Will Your Prenuptial Agreement Hold Up in Court?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract like any other – except it is a contract that is entered into with the intention of never having to implement it. There is no statute of limitations involved (unless a deadline is incorporated in the agreement in the first place). Further, most prenuptial agreements are not invoked for many years – or even decades. As such, it is a good idea to know the basics when it comes to the validity of your prenup.

The Factors of Voluntariness

If your marriage does end in divorce, the validity of your prenuptial agreement may be challenged by either of you for many reasons. Still, the most common reason tends to be voluntariness, which can be challenged for several reasons that include:

  • Independent Legal Counsel

  • Misrepresentation

  • Lack of Information

  • Withheld Information

Let’s take a closer look.

Independent Legal Counsel

While not having your own legal counsel will not necessarily render your prenuptial agreement unenforceable, having legal counsel is highly indicative of voluntariness – and is usually the most critical indicator supporting voluntariness in a prenuptial agreement (if challenged). When it comes to prenuptial agreements, the best practice is for both parties to actively participate in the creation of the contract (with the guidance of your respective family law attorneys). Even if one of you signs the contract against the advice of counsel, the fact remains that you had the opportunity to obtain the advice of independent legal counsel, which reinforces voluntariness.

Misrepresentation

If either party misrepresented any information to induce the other to sign the prenuptial agreement, it may be deemed fraud, which would naturally affect the other’s voluntariness in the matter. Misleading the other party regarding one’s assets or liabilities is considered misrepresentation.

Lack of Information

The court will also be interested in how much information each of you had regarding the other’s finances before marriage. Full financial disclosure is paramount, but one or both of you may waive the right to fair and reasonable disclosure prior to signing. Such a waiver must be made expressly, voluntarily, and in writing – and is ill-advised.

Withheld Information

The court will also take withheld information into consideration. For example, just because your soon-to-be spouse enjoys a lavish lifestyle does not mean it is not propped up by massive debt. Further, living a frugal lifestyle does not necessarily correspond with limited means. For both of you to make informed decisions, you need to have all the information – not just the trappings of a wealthy or modest lifestyle.

Discuss Your Prenup Concerns with an Experienced Killeen Family Law Attorney Today

A prenuptial agreement can be an important tool for a marriage, but it should not be entered into without the careful legal counsel of an experienced family law attorney like Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas. Mr. Pritchard is committed to helping you strike a favorable balance in your prenuptial agreement, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.
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