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Prenuptial Agreements: Top 5 Ways to Invalidate

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By Jason Beahm on March 16, 2011 9:48 AM

Prenuptial agreements, or "prenups," are a popular topic here at FindLaw.

Questions that come up often are, "Is my prenuptial agreement valid?" "Can my prenuptial agreement be invalidated?"

Here are five situations in which your prenup is either invalid or can be invalidated:

Lack of a Written Agreement

Was your prenuptial agreements only made verbally? Then it is almost certainly invalid. A valid prenuptial agreement must be in writing to be enforceable.

You Were Pressured and/or Didn't Read the Prenup

Contending that you were pressured or didn't read a prenuptial agreement is not a very strong argument for invalidation, but it is something. If your spouse or his lawyer put serious pressure on you to sign, or if the papers were put in front of you with a bunch of other papers and you were asked to sign quickly, the premarital agreement may not be enforceable if you sign it without reading it.

Invalid Provisions

There are certain provisions that are unenforceable even if you agree to them. For example, the prenuptial agreement cannot modify child support obligations. If the prenup contains illegal or invalid provisions, the court could either throw out the entire prenup, or alternatively, strike the illegal clauses and enforce the remainder of the agreement.

False Information

In order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid, full disclosure must be made by both parties. If one of the parties lies about income, assets, liabilities or other pertinent information, the agreement is invalid.

Lack of Independent Counsel

Before entering into a prenuptial agreement, both parties should seek independent counsel. In some states, they are required to do so. If the same attorney attempts to represent both parties, the prenuptial agreement may be invalid.

So remember, prenuptial agreements are serious legal events that call for experienced legal counsel. Also, if you're looking for a good sample prenup, check out our free form.

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