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Reasons a pre-nuptial agreement may not hold up in court

Prenuptial agreements are agreements between two soon-to-be-spouses that are written out and signed prior to marriage. These documents can address just about anything, including property division, whether mediation or arbitration will be used in the event of a divorce, and child rearing decisions. However, it is possible for these predetermined contracts to be rendered invalid. How could a prenuptial agreement be seen as invalid in a Minnesota family court?

When an agreement is found to be invalid, that means the prenuptial agreement does not stand due to inconsistencies with the process or unconscionable clauses contained therein. Firstly, it is important to remember that prenuptial agreements need to be in writing and be signed by both parties to be valid. Also, if you were pressured into the agreement or if you did not read the agreement, then it may not hold up in divorce court.

Since prenuptial agreements often determine the fate of property division and spousal support, clauses within the agreement need to be closely analyzed. An unconscionable agreement, like one that promises to give all assets to one party in the event of a divorce, likely will not be upheld in a court of law. A clause that addresses child custody would also likely be found unconscionable because child visitation and custody arrangements cannot be predetermined before a custody hearing. A clause regarding child custody this would likely be wiped from the document and not taken into consideration.

Whether a couple is in the midst of a divorce where a prenuptial agreement was signed or are a soon-to-be wedded couple who is drafting a prenuptial agreement, it is important to understand that the contract is not all encompassing. Think of prenuptial agreements as a guideline for how situations may be governed. Prenuptial agreements must abide by state law and be generally fair to both parties. Prenuptial agreements, if drafted correctly, can be a great way for spouses to verbalize and organize their needs both during and after a marriage so that they feel safe and secure moving forward.

Source: FindLaw, "Top 10 reasons a prenuptial agreement may be invalid," accessed Sep. 28, 2015

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