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When to challenge a premarital agreement in a divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2021 | Divorce |

A premarital agreement is a good idea when it allows a couple to lay out their financial situations and discuss how they want to manage their finances in their relationship and beyond. However, it is also possible to regret signing such a contract if the financial picture after divorce looks particularly bleak.

In some cases, the agreement may not be valid, which may be why the division of property seems so imbalanced. FindLaw explains that courts occasionally throw out a portion or all of a prenuptial contract and divide the marital property fairly.

Dishonesty or duress

If one party signed the document under duress or without receiving full disclosure of what was in it, then it is not a valid contract. For example, a person may bring out the contract in the hours right before the wedding and insist that both parties sign it before the event can go forward. Or, a person may summarize the contents of the contract, leaving out key points, and encourage the other to sign without reading it.

Unfair outcome

Courts consider a premarital contract to be fair if both parties provided full disclosure of their financial situation to each other when they signed the document. However, if the circumstances have changed since the wedding to such a degree that the outcome is unreasonable, a judge may rule that the contract is no longer fair. The judge will also rule the document unenforceable if it leaves one spouse dependent on government assistance.

Wanting a 50/50 property division settlement may not be a strong challenge to a prenup, but wanting to be able to maintain the standard of living that both parties enjoyed during the marriage may be a valid point of fairness to present to the court.