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Striking down part, or all, of a prenup upon legal challenge

Imagine that you have been married for many years, but you and your spouse decide it is time for a divorce. You remember signing a prenuptial agreement months before your wedding day, but you haven't thought about the contract much since. Now that a divorce is on the table, you review your prenuptial agreement and find that the provisions aren't as kind as you remember them being. You may even think that the document is unfair.

This is called an "unconscionable" contract. A prenuptial agreement is supposed to be "conscionable": that is, a prenup that is financially fair to both sides. If the provisions are drafted in such a way that it would leave one spouse in financial ruin and it is clear the prenup favors one side in the relationship, then a legal challenge would find parts of the prenup, or possibly all of it, deemed invalid.

"Unconscionability" is just one example of how a prenup can be successfully challenged. Here are a few other ways that a party could mount a legal challenge against their prenup:

  • The information and provisions. If illegal information was discussed, or if false information was provided, or if the provisions themselves are illegal, then part or all of the prenup could be struck down.
  • Time and consideration. This is a big one. Every spouse has a right to fully consider a prenup before signing. If you are pressured into signing the contract, then it can be dismissed.
  • Independent legal counsel. With separate interests involved in a prenup, independent counsel is a must.

Source: FindLaw, "Top 10 Reasons a Premarital Agreement May be Invalid," Accessed July 11, 2017

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