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How and why a prenup can be invalidated

There are plenty of practical reasons to have a prenuptial agreement, and the contract can go a long way towards providing a soon-to-be-married couple with legal security about their property, assets, and other valuables in case of a divorce or other unforeseen circumstance. However, many people assume that a prenuptial agreement -- for all the good they can do -- are impregnable contracts that can't be legally challenged.

This couldn't be further from the truth. Prenuptial agreements can absolutely be challenged in court, and there are a variety of circumstances that can lead to a prenup being overturned entirely, or just partially. So what are those circumstances? Let's look at a few common ones:

  • The first is "time and consideration." Any signee of a prenuptial agreement must have ample time to think about the provisions included in the contract, and then to fully consider what the prenup will mean for them and their life. If someone is urged, rushed, or pressured into signing the document, it could be tossed out upon a legal challenge.
  • Another common reason is the information within the prenup itself. Does it discuss anything illegal? Were topics discussed that are off limits (such as child custody or support)? Was false information included? Then the prenup could be invalidated.
  • Last but not least, the prenup must be, at least in some small way, "fair." This concept is considered "conscionability" in this context. If a prenup is deemed "unconscionable" -- that is, if one spouse is heavily favored over another in the prenup -- then it could be invalidated.

Source: FindLaw, "Top 10 Reasons a Premarital Agreement May be Invalid," Accessed Dec. 21, 2017

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