When Can a Prenuptial Agreement Be Void?
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are contracts signed by a couple either before or after a wedding that defines certain property and inheritance rights in the case of divorce or death. There are many things that can be included in this type of contract, but are there circumstances where a prenuptial agreement can be deemed void and thrown out in a divorce? The answer is yes, and understanding when this type of contract can be tossed out by the court can make a critical difference in your Florida divorce case.
Signing Under Duress
One reason why a prenuptial agreement may be deemed void by a court in a divorce is if one spouse can prove that they signed the contract under duress. This means that they signed the agreement due to significant coercion or stress. A common example of duress is when one spouse springs the agreement on the other just prior to the wedding and threatens to call everything off if the other person does not sign.
Lack of Legal Representation
Another reason why the court may throw out a prenuptial contract is if one spouse lacked legal representation during the process. Each spouse must have the opportunity for an attorney to review the terms of a prenuptial agreement prior to signing. If one spouse refused to allow the other to have an attorney review the contract, it can be thrown out in court. This reason is often cited with the grounds of duress.
Failure to Disclose
A prenuptial agreement can also be thrown out in a divorce if one spouse failed to disclose assets in the contract. This is a fairly common tactic seen when one person is significantly wealthier than the other and wishes to hide some of their wealth from their spouse. If hidden assets are discovered during the divorce, a judge may throw out the property distribution provisions in a prenuptial agreement in order to divide the marital estate more equitably.
Finally, a judge may toss out a prenuptial agreement during a divorce case in Florida if it is deemed that the contract contains provisions that are unconscionable to one spouse. This means that the prenuptial agreement is so unfair or oppressive to one party that the court cannot enforce it. Common examples include one spouse receiving nothing from the marital estate or spousal support after the marriage ends, denial of the payment of child support, or inclusion of terms that cannot be enforced in a prenuptial contract like marital or household duties.
Call or Contact Our Office Now
To learn more about whether a prenuptial agreement will stand up in court during your Florida divorce, call the office or contact our Tampa divorce attorneys at the law office of Blair H. Chan, III today. Schedule an initial consultation of your case with a qualified Florida divorce attorney now.