Prenuptial agreements are supposed to make divorce settlements much easier by creating a framework that both parties have to follow. This is supposed to eliminate arguments and make the separation as seamless as possible, with both parties following rules that they agreed would be acceptable. However, after an acrimonious marriage and during a long-overdue divorce, a couple can try to get the prenup thrown out for various reasons. If you're hoping to get the prenup thrown out -- no matter which side of the major assets you're on -- you may want to think twice.
Prenups can be voided by a court. This happened in 2013 in Long Island when a court voided a lopsided prenup, claiming the husband had coerced the wife into signing and lied about what would happen to the prenup after the couple had kids. This was a huge win for the wife, who didn't stand to get a lot from the agreement. What was even more amazing about this, though, was that the court voided the agreement based on a recollection of a verbal statement. In other words, the key didn't have to be in writing.
And It Can Happen Again
This was an unusual case but not a once-in-a-lifetime deal. Forbes lists a few situations in which prenups can be voided, including coercion, misrepresentation, a grossly unfair distribution of assets, lack of legal representation for both sides, and poor design. these may have you thinking of ways to get your prenup thrown out so that you can renegotiate your divorce settlement.
But You Might Want to Keep Yours in Place
Certainly, there are times when voiding the agreement would be a good idea. But if you are thinking that you don't want to pay your ex-wife the alimony listed in the agreement (even though you can afford to), or if you're thinking that your ex-husband wouldn't be paying you enough if you stuck with the agreement, think carefully before attempting to void the prenup. It's a costly legal battle that relies on cold calculations and not sympathy. It means your divorce might not be final for a very long time, and there could be years of appeals afterward.
If you think you have good grounds for voiding the prenup, talk to a divorce lawyer. You do want to get a fair deal and not have to follow an agreement that really wasn't valid. A lawyer can also help you with the much easier task of enforcing a prenup if you want to do that, making your divorce proceed a lot more quickly.
Contact a professional like Novack, Jeffrey N to learn more.
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