Many people create prenuptial agreements to avoid the possibility of a messy divorce and to establish powerful legal protections before they marry. Whether a couple has significant assets or is simply planning for future success, a strong prenuptial agreement can keep a marriage strong in difficult times and make divorce a simpler, streamlined process if a marriage dissolves.
However, not all prenuptial agreements are valid. If an agreement includes vague wording or is not created carefully, then its protections may not hold up to scrutiny. If you face divorce and have a prenuptial agreement, it is important to review your agreement carefully. Your spouse will almost certainly review the agreement carefully as well, and may challenge the agreement in court if it has weaknesses.
What invalidates prenuptial agreements?
Simply creating a prenuptial agreement may not be much help at all if the contents are not legally sound. Many mistakes can invalidate a prenuptial agreement, such as:
- The agreement was verbal, not written
- One party signed under pressure
- One party was not given enough time to read and consider its terms
- One party did not consider the agreement with independent legal counsel
- The agreement contains inaccurate or incomplete information
- The agreement contains invalid provisions, such as child custody determinations
- The terms of the agreement are unconscionable to one party
In broad strokes, prenuptial agreements must only include legally valid provisions that each party understands and willingly agrees to uphold. If an agreement contains invalid provisions, or is so unfair to one party as to violate their rights, a court may not uphold it.
If your prenuptial agreement with your spouse is not valid, then you may face a much more complicated divorce process. In Texas, the law requires spouses to divide their marital property equally, unless the couple has a prenuptial agreement. If a prenuptial agreement does not hold up to scrutiny, a couple’s marital property must be divided according to state community property laws.
Protecting your future begins now
If you have a legally viable prenuptial agreement, then your divorce may be relatively straightforward, so reviewing the agreement should be one of your first steps if you have not already done so.
No matter where you are in the divorce process, it is always wise to approach divorce with a strong legal strategy. Understanding the legal issues at hand can help you identify your priorities, so that you can achieve your divorce goals and protect your rights, leading to less heartache and practical harm.