Spouses who entered into a prenuptial agreement before marriage who are now heading for divorce court may wonder if there is a way to invalidate the prenuptial agreement. Hindsight is 20/20 after all, and what seemed reasonable in the early days of a relationship may seem downright unfair or even suspect when the marriage dissolves.
Failure to Disclose Assets
A prenuptial agreement requires both parties to provide a full disclosure of their assets and income. Undervaluing or failing to disclose all assets can invalidate a prenuptial agreement. If a divorcing spouse can prove that his or her spouse was less than forthcoming when they signed the agreement, the prenup may be thrown out. Without the prenup, marital property will be subject to equal division in Wisconsin.
Coercion, Duress, Mental Incapacitation
If a party is coerced into signing a prenup, or is in a state of duress, or lacks the mental capacity to enter an agreement (intoxicated or ill), the prenuptial agreement can be invalidated. Coercion, duress or mental incapacity are harder to prove when trying to invalidate a prenup, but not unheard of.
As an example, think back a few years to the divorce of a Chicago billionaire whose wife asked the court to throw out a prenup saying she signed it under duress. She alleged that “in the days leading up to their wedding, she was rushed into signing the prenup without adequate time to study the document.” She went on to say that when she expressed an unwillingness to sign, a violent argument ensued. Subsequently, the husband suggested they see a counselor she assumed incorrectly to be a neutral third party who of course sided with the husband. Under mounting pressure, “she signed the prenuptial agreement just hours before the wedding rehearsal dinner”.
Although the husband’s team called “foul!’ saying the whole account was “salacious and untrue”, her compelling account of duress and coercion and her willingness to take it to court, culminated in a settlement they both could agree on. Duress, coercion, or mental incapacity at signing a prenuptial can render the agreement unenforceable if it can be proved.
Poorly Drafted Agreements | Document Errors
Prenuptial agreements must be in writing and signed by both parties in contemplation of marriage. Enforceability of a prenuptial agreement can be problematic if the prenup was poorly drafted or improperly filed – missing any dotted i’s or crossed t’s so to speak. Working with an experienced attorney can ensure that a prenup is not invalidated on a technicality or vice versa.
Legal Representation | Lopsided Agreements
Most states require that each spouse retain separate legal representation when entering into a prenuptial agreement. If you were asked to sign a prenuptial and did not have adequate legal representation, the prenup may be invalidated if you divorce. Other grounds for challenging a prenup include any prenup which is unconscionable or grossly favors one spouse which, not surprisingly, occurs more frequently in the absence of separate counsel. Prenups that have provisions for child custody, visitation or support are also at risk of being invalidate in whole or in part.
When You Have Questions About Invalid Prenuptial Agreements
Contact Our Wisconsin Family Law Attorneys for Answers
Probst Law Offices, S.C. represents clients solely for family law matters, including matters pertaining to invalid prenuptial agreements. When you have questions about a prenuptial agreement, contact the Wisconsin family law attorneys of Probst Law Offices for answers at 414-210-3135.