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Why might a prenuptial agreement be invalid?

Prenuptial or premarital agreements have become increasingly common among couples contemplating marriage today.  While all of us enter into marriage expecting it to last forever, the reality is that close to half of all marriages will end in divorce.  Premarital agreements are carefully drafted by Texas family law attorneys and serve to clarify the rights and responsibilities of each spouse in the marriage, and the division of property in the event of a divorce.  Creation of a valid prenuptial agreement will protect your legal rights and save you from heartache down the road.  

Making Sure Your Prenup is Enforceable

If you have decided to pursue a prenuptial agreement, it is vital that you prepare and sign a valid prenup.  There are several grounds that could cause your premarital agreement to be declared invalid and unenforceable, including:

  1. Fraud:  To create an enforceable prenuptial agreement, both spouses must fully disclose their assets.  If one spouse undervalued his or her assets or engaged in other deceit, this could be grounds for having the prenup thrown out in court.
  2. Coercion, Duress, or Incapacity:  If the prenuptial agreement was signed as a result of coercion or duress, or if one of the spouses lacked mental capacity to understand the prenup, it will not be enforced.  Duress and coercion are hard to prove but could involve threats or undue pressure to sign.
  3. Paperwork errors:  Prenuptial agreements must comply with Texas law, which requires the prenup be in writing and signed by both parties, after appropriate disclosures.  Failure to draft a legally adequate premarital agreement can invalidate it.
  4. Lack of legal representation:  Texas law requires that both parties represent their own interests, preferably with independent attorneys representing each party.  If one party lacked an understanding of what they were signing because they did not have legal counsel, this might strike down the prenup.
  5. Overreaching or invalid clauses:  Family law attorneys have the power to invalidate premarital agreements that are unfairly favorable to one side or contain illegal provisions, such as stating no child support will be paid after a divorce.

Contact our Texas family law lawyers at Navarrete & Schwartz, P.C. to find out more about how you can protect yourself with a premarital agreement.