Four Reasons Your Prenuptial Agreement Might Be Unenforceable
If you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement before your wedding, you may feel pretty certain that you have adequately covered all of your bases in the event of a divorce. You have made plans regarding how your individual and marital assets will be divided, whether or not alimony will be paid and, which of you will get to stay in the marital home. With all of these issues settled well in advance, you and your spouse may be enjoying a sense of security and peace of mind. However, some couples who sign prenuptial agreements, make mistakes which could lead to their agreements being set aside as unenforceable by the court.
There are only a few reasons that a prenuptial agreement may be found to be invalid, including:
1. Lack of Full Disclosure
A prenuptial agreement requires a complete financial disclosure from each party regarding income, assets, and debts. The agreement cannot contain reasonable terms if both parties are not fully informed of the relevant circumstances. If your spouse has financial secrets and you did not voluntarily waive your right to disclosure, your agreement may be unenforceable.
2. Insufficient Time for Review
You and your spouse may have spent months planning your wedding and looking forward to a life together. Were the same considerations afforded to the terms of your prenuptial agreement or were you given the document to sign just a few days before your marriage? A prenuptial agreement is meant to be a legally binding contract and should not be entered into without a comprehensive review and full knowledge of its contents. If you were rushed or coerced into signing your agreement, there is the possibility that it could be set aside.
3. Lack of Legal Counsel
It is highly advisable for both prospective spouses to work with independent attorneys when drafting a prenuptial agreement. Such agreements often contain complicated language and, possibly, obscure legal terms which must be properly explained to each party. Signing a prenuptial agreement without a lawyer’s help—especially if your spouse did retain a lawyer—could put you at a serious disadvantage. If the disadvantage is serious enough, a court may refuse to uphold the agreement.
4. Unfair Terms or Unforeseen Circumstances
“Unconscionable” is a word often used in relation to prenuptial agreements, and it refers to an agreement that was so one-sided or unfair at the time it was signed that enforcing it would unduly affect one party. An agreement found unconscionable by the court will not be enforced. Similarly, if an agreement was reasonable at the time of signing, but changing circumstances have created a situation where enforcement would cause undue hardship to one party, it will not be enforced.
A St. Charles Family Lawyer Can Help Create an Enforceable Prenuptial Agreement
If you are considering marriage and would like more information about developing a prenuptial agreement that will stand up in court, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Call 630-665-7300 to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of the team at MKFM Law today.