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Divorce: What may lead to a prenup being challenged in court?

Many California couples choose to sign prenuptial agreements to override the state and federal laws that govern marriages. However, if the legal requirements of establishing such a contract are not met, a marriage agreement may be deemed invalid by the court during divorce proceedings. One of the reasons for such a decision by a judge may be an oral or verbal agreement that was never recorded in writing and signed by both parties.

The court will also want to invalidate unconscionable prenups that might lead to one party's post-divorce financial hardship while the other spouse thrives. To get to a fair marriage agreement, it is also vital for both parties to provide honest and full disclosure of their individual assets, income, debts and other liabilities. An individual who was kept in the dark about the other party's finances might not have been willing to sign the contract had he or she been fully informed.

Another reason for a judge to question or even invalidate a prenuptial agreement is evidence of coercion. No form of pressure or deception may be present with the signing of a marital contract. It is also essential to arrange for the signing of such an agreement well in advance of the marriage date. The court must be convinced that both parties understood what they were signing and had sufficient time to consider the consequences of signing the contract.

Many people in California take the time to discuss the matter with an experienced divorce attorney to ensure the validity of a prenuptial agreement before signing a document presented by the other party. An attorney can review the contract, or draft a whole new document. With such legal guidance, the agreement will likely hold up in court if it is ever challenged.

Source:, "7 Reasons Why a Premarital Agreement May be Invalid", Accessed on Jan. 19, 2018

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