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What circumstances void a prenuptial agreement?

Even a few years ago, requesting a prenuptial agreement was considered an insult to a fiancée. New York City couples shied away from talking about entering into a prenuptial agreement before marriage due to the hard feelings that its topic evoked. However, times have changed and now a prenuptial agreement is becoming common among high net worth spouses, including celebrities.

A prenuptial agreement helps spouses to protect assets that each held prior to a marriage. It highlights how property will be divided between spouses if they part ways. A prenuptial agreement usually protects assets of a spouse who had accumulated more financially before the marriage and who would have more to lose after divorce.

However, certain circumstances allow a prenuptial agreement to be considered null and void. If one spouse hides assets from the other or undervalues property owned before a marriage, these are issues that could affect the legality of a prenup. If a spouse is able to prove non-disclosure of all previous assets or property, then the prenuptial agreement can be considered void.

Second, if a spouse is able to prove that he or she was compelled to sign the prenuptial agreement under stressful circumstances, then the prenup can be invalidated. Similarly, if it can be proven that the spouse was ill at the time of signing, then the prenup can be made null and void. Also, care should be taken to document the events leading up to the signing of the prenuptial agreement. Even a spelling mistake may invalidate a prenup.

If the prenuptial agreement was signed in the absence of attorneys, then there are chances of it becoming void. If the provisions contained in the agreement are unreasonable, then it could be thrown out by the judge. Also, a prenup must be written because no provision can be made for oral agreements.

Source: Forbes, “Five Reasons Your Prenup Might Be Invalid,” Jeff Landers, April 2, 2013

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