Traits of an Enforceable Prenuptial Agreement

In Relationships, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

While planning for marriage is an unbelievably exciting time in a person’s life, it is important to make good, sensible decisions in the process. An unfortunate number of marriages end in divorce, and sometimes, those who find themselves in that position wind up wishing they had better protected themselves. This is why couples choose to enter into prenuptial agreements.

What Are Prenuptial Agreements?

Prenuptial agreements are contracts between people who are about to enter into marriage, which can address financial matters between the couple in the event of a divorce. This may include the classification of property as separate property, how property will be divided, what happens to property upon the death of a spouse, or the amount and duration of spousal support.

The existence of an agreement can save divorcing parties a lot of time and money, as it can preemptively resolve issues that would otherwise be the subject of expensive and highly contested lawsuits. However, in order to be an enforceable and legally binding contract, a prenuptial agreement must be valid. If you are considering entering into a prenupt, you should be aware of the traits of an enforceable agreement.

  • An attorney prepares the agreement. You can make matters a lot worse for yourself if you choose to create your own prenuptial agreement based on templates or tools that you download online. A family law attorney knows the legal requirements of a valid, enforceable contract that can withstand a challenge. In addition, an attorney can advise you on your legal rights and can provide you with custom tailored options to suit your needs and circumstances.
  • The agreement is voluntarily entered. A spouse who later disputes a prenuptial agreement may be able to prove that the agreement was not voluntary if he or she can demonstrate that the other spouse did not disclose certain property at the time of the agreement and that there was no way for the harmed spouse to know of such property.
  • The agreement isn’t one-sided. If an agreement is completely lopsided in favor of one spouse, there is a possibility that the court may find the agreement “unconscionable”, and therefore unenforceable.
  • The terms of the agreement are consistent with the law. It should go without saying that future spouses cannot enter into a contract where they agree to break or violate the law. Any such terms cannot be enforced by a court.
  • The parties steer clear of child custody and child support agreements. The best interest of children and their financial support are always within the discretion of courts to decide. In other words, if parents preemptively agree to a custody or visitation arrangement that is contrary to the child’s welfare, the court is not bound by that agreement. The same goes with child support, as children are entitled to be supported by both parents.

Contact New Direction Family Law

New Direction Family Law provides legal guidance and representation to men and women seeking to dissolve their marriages. The laws relating to child custody, property division, spousal support, and child support are complex and highly technical. You don’t want to take any chances with your children’s future or with your financial future. There are legal steps that can be taken to protect yourself, and we can ensure those steps are taken. If you need help, call us today. We serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Call (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation, or contact us online at our website.