This is the next post in a series of articles about understanding prenuptial agreements in Melbourne, Florida. My previous post discussed how the actions of a couple during their marriage may impact the validity of the contract. To preserve the intentions of the parties in the prenuptial agreement, they must act in a manner consistent with its terms. Failing to do so puts them at risk of invalidating some or all of the provisions of the contract. This article will discuss potential grounds for challenging a prenuptial agreement after it is signed. It is important to discuss challenges to a prenuptial agreement with and experienced attorney who can help you understand the legal requirements to overturn this type of document. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Challenges to prenuptial agreements often arise in the course of divorce litigation. Depending upon the scope of the agreement, a prenuptial agreement may significantly impact the division of marital property or debts. They may also limit rights or obligations with respect to spousal support. It is easy to imagine that a document signed at the beginning of a marriage may seem entirely unfair during a divorce proceeding. In certain circumstances, however, a party may have valid reasons to challenge a prenuptial agreement. As previously discussed in this series, to be enforceable, premarital contracts must be entered into voluntarily, must not be unconscionable and must be based upon each party’s full disclosure of assets and liabilities. If a party can provide evidence to challenge these requirements, they may attempt to invalidate the contract with the court.
Consider the following example. On their wedding day, an hour before the ceremony, Husband presents Wife with a prenuptial agreement. Husband tells Wife that the wedding will only proceed if she signs the agreement immediately. In a panic, Wife signs the agreement without even reading its terms. When the parties decide to divorce, Husband presents the prenuptial agreement to the court to support his position that he is not responsible for alimony payments and that his bank accounts are not considered marital property. Assuming Wife can provide evidence surrounding the circumstances of her execution of the document, she would likely have grounds to challenge the agreement. A court may uphold her challenge on grounds that she signed the agreement under duress, without having the opportunity to review its terms or obtain legal advice. It may also determine that Husband had not disclosed his assets and liabilities thus making the agreement unenforceable. This is an extreme example, but highlights the potential grounds for challenging prenuptial agreements. Each case will be different and a court’s decision will be based on the specific facts of the situation.
Given the potential impact on the rights and obligations of both spouses in the event of a divorce, it is imperative to contact a Melbourne family lawyer if you are involved in a prenuptial agreement dispute. My firm has experience with prenuptial agreements and can assist you with these matters. If you need assistance, contact my office to speak with an attorney. My office serves clients in the cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.