Here’s a hypothetical. You’re on the cusp of your Florida divorce and suddenly thinking back to that day just prior to your marriage when you and your spouse decided to execute a prenuptial agreement. It seemed like a good idea on a number of fronts, lending certainty and assurances to things like property division in the event of a dissolution, how assets such as art, jewelry and separate property brought into the marriage would be handled and a host of other considerations.
You thought it was a bit exceptional and not exactly indicative of marital trust, but you were rational enough to see a prenup for what most experts say it is: an effective and logical vehicle for couples in many instances to identify those things that are important in their marriage, to seek to protect them and to avoid complications down the road.
Premarital contracts and postmarital agreements are far more common than many people realize. “I’d say prenups are 10 times more common than they were 20 years ago,” says one divorce attorney, and they are “not taboo anymore.”
Back to that hypothetical, though. Say that you now lament ever signing it. Upon scrutinizing it, it seems unfair and onerous, and you don’t think your spouse was honest. Can you void it?
Short answer: A prenup is a contract, like any other legal agreement. If it was carefully crafted, with a full meeting of the minds between the parties, an adequately stated subject matter, is absent fraud and passes the scrutiny of a judge, it is enforceable.
Conversely, if one of the parties wasn’t honest about assets, coerced the other party to make concessions or inserted contractual provisions that a court would find offensive on grounds of public policy, a marital contract’s validity might be called into question.
That too would be the case if an agreement lacked key requirements such as a date or signature, or wasn’t drafted in accordance with legal requirements.
An experienced family law attorney with proven acumen in negotiating, drafting and reviewing marital contracts can be an indispensable asset at both the execution stage of such an agreement and in instances when a party seeks to void a contract for illegality.
Source: Reuters, “Breaking up is hard to do, breaking prenup is harder,” Geoff Williams, Oct. 5, 2012