A prenuptial agreement is sometimes viewed as a form of protection. It can protect someone’s assets, for example, so that if they get divorced, their ownership interest in specific property won’t be compromised.
For example, maybe a business owner is wary that they would have to divide the increase in the value of their business with their spouse if they got divorced. They want to make sure that their marital status will never impact the business’s revenue or chances of success. So, they use a prenup to make the statement in advance, and their future spouse agrees to it in writing.
However, what people don’t realize is that a prenuptial agreement can be invalidated by the court under certain circumstances. If invalidated, the protections that someone may be counting on will be lost. Below are three potential reasons this could happen.
Some of the information initially provided was false
Information provided cannot be fraudulent or fake when it is included in a prenup. Additionally, assets must be fully disclosed. If certain assets were hidden, or if they were lied about – perhaps to make it appear that they didn’t exist or that they were worth less than they really are – then the other person who signed the prenup did not have all of the information they needed to make an informed decision about committing to the agreement.
One person was pressured into signing
Furthermore, people need to be able to exercise free will when signing a prenup. They cannot be threatened or forced to sign. There are also different forms of duress that they may claim they were under at the time of signing, or they can say they were coerced into signing it. Similarly, a prenup may be invalid if one person was under the influence of alcohol or other substances and lacked the mental capacity to sign.
The prenup discusses child custody
Finally, it’s important that prenups only focus on finances unless state law allows for additional terms to be included. They cannot be used to divide hypothetical child custody or make determinations about child support in any state, for example.
As you can see, prenuptial agreements are a bit more complicated than many people realize. That’s why it’s so important to understand all of your legal options when crafting a prenup or trying to enforce one during the divorce process.