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When a judge chooses not to enforce your prenup

Prenuptial agreements can serve as valuable legal tools under a variety of circumstances. They may help to protect property and assets in the event of divorce, they may inspire couples to sort out their financial priorities prior to marriage and they may even help to regulate certain behaviors like social media usage. However, prenuptial agreements must be constructed and otherwise executed in specific ways in order to be considered enforceable.

If a judge determines that a prenuptial agreement was constructed fraudulently, under duress or is otherwise unfair and unbalanced to one of the parties affected by the agreement, the judge may decline to enforce this contract. Having a prenuptial agreement thrown out can be a good thing for the party who may be harmed by it, but it can also serve as a negative turn of events for the party who may benefit from its enforcement.

After a prenuptial agreement is declared unenforceable, a judge will generally insist that the outcome of your divorce should be treated as fairly as it would be had you never drafted a prenuptial agreement. This may practically mean that one spouse will receive more or less spousal support and/or property than was originally agreed to in the prenuptial agreement. In addition, either spouse may or may not be held accountable for behaving in certain ways that may have been prohibited under the prenuptial agreement’s terms.

An experienced family law attorney can adequately explain the practical consequences of having your prenuptial agreement thrown out of your divorce proceedings. Under your unique circumstances, this action may result in positive consequences, negative consequences or both.

Source: The Huffington Post, “When a Prenup Gets Thrown Out,” Stann Givens, July 1, 2014

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