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Is your prenuptial agreement valid?

Prenuptial agreements are a useful, wise way to protect yourself and your spouse from many of the pressures that tear marriages apart, and can help keep a divorce process simple if your marriage ends. However, just because you have a prenuptial agreement doesn't mean that it will hold up in court.

There are myriad ways a prenuptial agreement may prove partially or entirely invalid. In general, these potential weaknesses fall into two categories: improper execution or faulty construction of the document. If your agreement is not written or not properly signed, it is unenforceable. Similarly, if one spouse or the other did not read the agreement, was not given time to fully consider the terms or was coerced into signing the agreement against his or her wishes or best interests, a court may not honor it.

Even if both spouses properly understand the terms and the document was properly executed, a court still reserves the power to invalidate it if the contents of the agreement do not comply with the law. If, for instance, the agreement contains illegal provisions, such as doing away with child support, a judge may dismiss it. Likewise, if you or your spouse populated the agreement with false or insufficient information, the courts may not honor it.

Judges also generally frown on honoring prenuptial agreements that are harshly one-sided. If you or your spouse agreed to terms that place one party at a severe disadvantage, a judge may toss out the agreement. It is also possible that the judge may strike certain elements from the agreement and uphold the rest.

If you have any concerns about the validity of your prenuptial agreement, don't hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney to keep your rights secure and protected.

Source: FindLaw, "Top 10 Reasons a Premarital Agreement May be Invalid," accessed June 23, 2017

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