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Reasons that a premarital agreement may be invalidated

Premarital agreements, often called prenuptial agreements or prenups, are legal contracts that individuals enter with their prospective spouses prior to walking down the aisle. These agreements stipulate matters related to the parties’ property and the financial arrangements that they wish to follow if their pending marriages end in divorce. California couples of all walks of life and income levels use prenups to take some of the stress out of their lives in the event their marriages end.

A well-crafted prenup can save parties time and money, but not all premarital agreements withstand review when couples head to court to divorce. In some situations, prenups are invalidated in full or in part due to problems in their terms, execution, or both. This post provides a general discussion of some of the ways that premarital agreements may be invalidated, but all readers are asked to talk to their trusted divorce attorneys about their case-specific divorce questions.

Some prenups fail for technical reasons. Technical reasons can include, but are not limited to:

  • The agreement is not in writing, or the written agreement is not signed by one or both of the parties;
  • The agreement lacks detail or contains wrong information; and
  • The agreement contains impermissible terms, such as child custody determinations or agreements regarding illegal conduct.

Other prenups are invalidated due to issues that occurred during the development and execution of the documents. Generally, as with other contracts, prenups must be signed by individuals who are both aware of the contracts’ terms and in agreement with what they set forth. Certain problems, such as duress, unconscionability, and pressure, can cause individuals to enter into prenuptial agreements that they do not wish to execute.

Whether a person wishes to create a premarital agreement, discuss their existing prenuptial agreement, or seek to invalidate their prenup during their divorce, they may need legal help. Attorneys who practice divorce and family law can support individuals who wish to utilize these important contracts in their martial relationships.