A prenuptial (prenup) or premarital agreement allows a couple to determine what will happen to each of their assets and debts should the marriage end in a divorce. A prenup can protect a couple significantly or may fail to do so.
A court may declare an agreement invalid in certain circumstances, including:
It’s not in writing
A prenup should be written to be valid. Oral agreements are unenforceable.
It was signed after the wedding
By definition, a premarital agreement should be entered into before marriage. Signing it after the wedding makes it invalid.
Not all assets were disclosed
Each party entering a prenup agreement should list all their assets and debts. Not including a property/a liability or providing false information makes it invalid.
It can be uncomfortable to be honest about debts before marriage. But failing to do so may defeat the purpose of signing a prenup.
Every party should be willing to sign a prenup for it to be valid. The party that initiates it should give the other time to research the matter to make informed decisions. If one can prove that they were pressured into signing the agreement, the court can invalidate it.
Examples of coercion include a party threatening to cancel the wedding if the other refuses to sign the prenup or the other party feeling like they don’t have a choice.
A prenup cannot include certain clauses, particularly personal preferences, such as where to spend holidays, each party’s house chores or how to raise kids. Further, a prenup cannot list child support, child custody and visitation rights.
A prenup can only protect you and your soon-to-be spouse if it’s executed correctly. With legal guidance, you should avoid mistakes that can invalidate your agreement.