Prenuptial agreements, also called premarital agreements or “prenups,” are beneficial legal tools couples can use to manage and protect assets. Although they are often associated with celebrity marriages, prenups are not only for the rich and famous. Anyone can benefit from the protections offered through this valuable legal tool, but those who choose to create a prenup must be sure to do it correctly. It is not uncommon for a couple to think that they have a legally-binding prenuptial agreement only to discover it is unenforceable during a divorce. There are several circumstances which can invalidate a prenuptial agreement.
Prenups Must Meet Certain Criteria to Be Legally-Binding
You may remember the outrageous comedy movie Liar Liar. In the film, Jim Carrey’s character is a divorce attorney helping a less-than-ethical client divorce her husband. Although the movie is filled with exaggerations and inaccuracies, the clip in which the client’s prenuptial agreement is found to be invalid in court is fairly realistic. The client had entered into a prenuptial agreement with her husband upon getting married, but it was discovered that she was only seventeen-years-old when she signed it. Minors cannot enter into legally-enforceable contracts such as a prenuptial agreement. So, if one or both of the individuals were under age 18 upon signing the prenuptial agreement, it will not be valid.
Both Parties Must Fully Understand and Consent to the Prenuptial Agreement
Another way a prenup can be invalidated is if it was signed under duress. If one of the spouses was coerced into signing the document against his or her will, it cannot be used to make decisions about property during a divorce. Similarly, if a spouse was not mentally coherent when signing the document due to drugs, alcohol, illness, or for any other reason, it will not be legally-enforceable. A prenup can also be invalidated if both parties did not fully read and comprehend the document. If the prenuptial agreement contains lies regarding income or debts, it can also be thrown out.
A Prenuptial Agreement Must Be Reasonable
A prenup will not be enforceable if it contains “unconscionable provisions.” Unconscionable provisions refers to rule or directions which are grossly unfair or unethical. For example, a prenup which gives all the marital assets to one spouse while assigning all the marital debt to another will probably not hold up in court.
Contact a Qualified Wheaton Lawyer for Help Drafting Your Prenuptial Agreement
The only way to be completely certain that your prenuptial agreement is legally-binding is to have it reviewed by a licensed attorney. For help drafting or modifying a prenup, contact our team of highly skilled DuPage County family law attorneys at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group. Call us at 630-871-1002 today.