No one enters into marriage with the idea that they will be getting out of it soon enough. Further, a prenuptial agreement is not an exit plan and should not be considered as such. Prenuptial agreements, nevertheless, can play an important financial role in your marriage – especially if it is a second marriage and there are inheritances involved. The financial implications of any divorce, however, are so significant that having an enforceable prenuptial agreement in place can go a long way toward providing peace of mind – and, sometimes, even marital stability.
Your Prenuptial Agreement
A carefully drafted prenuptial agreement can help clarify your financial rights in the event of a divorce, including identifying what is separate property and guiding the division of your marital property. Doing the soul searching and going to the effort of executing a prenuptial agreement cannot, however, do you any good if it is not enforceable, to begin with.
Factors that Can Render Your Prenup Unenforceable
The following represent the factors that are most likely to invalidate prenuptial agreements:
Fraud – If you and your soon-to-be spouse were not both forthright about your finances in your prenup, it can amount to fraud, which will likely cause the court to disregard the contract altogether. Undervaluing one's assets and other forms of financial deceit can all rise to the level of fraud.
Coercion – If the prenuptial agreement is determined to have been entered into as a result of coercion, duress, or mental incapacity (to understand the prenuptial agreement in the first place), it will be deemed unenforceable. While coercion can be difficult to prove, engaging in verbal threats or undue pressure may suffice.
Errors in the Paperwork – Prenuptial agreements are contracts that must comport with Texas laws. As such, they must be in writing, must be signed by both parties, and must include all appropriate and necessary disclosures. If the prenup's drafting is not in keeping with state laws, it is likely invalid, to begin with.
Lack of Legal Counsel – In the State of Texas, both parties to a prenuptial agreement must represent their own interests (preferably with professional legal counsel on their side). If either party lacks a solid understanding of what he or she is signing (due to lack of counsel, for example), it can nullify the prenup.
Overarching Concerns or Invalid Clauses – If the prenuptial agreement favors one spouse unfairly, it is not likely to carry legal weight. Further, if the prenuptial agreement addresses matters that it is illegal to include in a prenuptial agreement, such as child custody terms and/or child support payments, it can negate the entire contract.
Turn to an Experienced Killeen Divorce Attorney Today
If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a trusted divorce attorney who has the experience and legal savvy to help ensure that your prenup supports your best interests and is well within the boundaries of legal supportability. To learn more about how we can help, please contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.