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Divorce: Can you invalidate a prenuptial agreement?

Like most people, you probably assumed that signing a prenuptial agreement permanently removed access to certain assets in the case of divorce. However, this may not be the case.

A number of factors can invalidate a prenuptial agreement. If you are able to prove that the agreement is invalid, you may be able to gain access to some of the assets that you previously signed away. What are some of the most common reasons that a prenuptial agreement is invalid?

Signing under unfavorable circumstances

You cannot be pressured into signing a prenuptial agreement, and you must be given sufficient time to read and evaluate the agreement before you sign. If your spouse demanded that you sign a prenuptial agreement right before the wedding, you may be able to argue that you were acting out of emotional distress and faced undue pressure.

Not following proper legal proceedings

For a prenuptial agreement to be valid, both spouses must have been given sufficient time to read and sign the document. Each spouse should have had access to independent legal counsel. Prenuptial agreements must be properly filed, written documents. You cannot have a verbal understanding with your spouse.

Failure to disclose key information

You cannot agree to something without full disclosure of the facts. Both spouses must divulge their assets and debts. Your spouse may not hide real estate holdings, income, retirement accounts, pensions, bank accounts or other material information from you.

Unenforceable provisions

Certain items are not permissible within a prenuptial agreement. For example, you cannot wave your right to child support payments. You are also not allowed to throw in frivolous provisions such as provisions concerning sexual relations, personal appearance, personal preferences, anything illegal or provisions that encourage divorce.

Seek legal counsel

It is not simple to overturn a prenuptial agreement, and most are legally binding agreements. However, if you were unfairly coerced to sign, or if you recognize any other warning signs in your agreement, contact an attorney to advise you on your legal rights.

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