Prenuptial agreements have become more and more common as couples seek to protect the assets they have before entering into a marriage. The ubiquity with which “prenups” pop up in celebrity news, television shows and other forms of media has normalized them as an aspect of modern relationships.
In some cases, however, a prenuptial agreement may not be as watertight as you may think. Any agreement you make before getting married has to follow certain rules in order to be valid. If your prenuptial agreement has any of the following issues, contact an experienced divorce lawyer who can help to address the problems before your spouse’s lawyer takes advantage.
1. Is your prenuptial agreement in writing and signed?
Only a written premarital agreement that has been signed by both partners is considered to be valid and enforceable. When it comes to divorce and asset division, verbal agreements are not legally binding.
2. Did both partners read the agreement, have time to review and consider it, and sign it of their own free will?
If one partner was rushed into signing a document that they did not read, or was pressured or coerced into signing against their will, the agreement is invalid.
3. Is the information in the agreement truthful and complete?
A premarital agreement requires both parties to fully disclose their assets, income, property and liabilities. If your prenuptial agreement contains false or incomplete information, it will not be enforceable.
4. Did both partners have independent legal representation?
While having legal representation is not a strict requirement, judges are generally less willing to enforce a premarital agreement signed by a person who was not represented by an attorney. As the interests of both parties are at stake, each partner should have their own lawyer when signing the document.
5. Does the agreement contain unlawful or invalid provisions?
There are some things that a prenuptial agreement cannot dictate. Any provisions that involve illegal activities are, understandably, invalid. Decisions regarding child support or child custody are not enforceable in a prenup, though Texas does allow provisions for waiving or modifying alimony payments. Additionally, any provisions that would appear to encourage divorce by offering a financial incentive will be disregarded by the court.
These are just a few of the reasons why a prenuptial agreement may not be enforceable by the courts during the divorce process. Those seeking further information and guidance about prenuptial agreements or asset division should contact an effective and competent legal representative.