You took the prudent step to make a prenuptial agreement. But maybe now you’re having second thoughts about it. Or maybe you’re concerned that your spouse will try to avoid terms they don’t like. Is there a way to invalidate a prenuptial agreement?
When a prenuptial contract meets basic requirements, there’s not much someone can do to invalidate it. But it is possible in specific situations. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the conditions that would nullify a prenuptial agreement.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements, commonly called premarital agreements or “prenups,” are contracts between two individuals before marriage. They establish how a couple will handle property and other financial issues if they divorce. A prenuptial agreement must follow all applicable state laws to be valid.
To be enforceable in Texas, a prenuptial agreement must:
- Be in writing, and
- Be signed by both parties voluntarily.
Additionally, each party must have known of the other party’s assets and financial obligations or have waived their right to receive this information.
Can You Void a Prenuptial Agreement?
A premarital agreement is generally enforceable unless one of three issues exists. First, the court can void a prenuptial agreement if it was not signed by both parties or put in writing.
Secondly, a prenuptial agreement is unenforceable if signed under duress or coercion. The parties must voluntarily sign the prenuptial agreement.
Finally, a prenuptial agreement is also unenforceable if it was “unconscionable” when signed and there was not a fair financial disclosure.
It’s important to know how to nullify a prenuptial agreement. Our attorneys can advise you on the limited conditions that may call the validity of a prenuptial agreement into question.
Not Put in Writing or Signed
A prenuptial agreement must be in writing. If one of the parties fails to sign the prenuptial agreement before marriage, the agreement is invalid.
You also have to have signed the agreement before you were married. If you and your spouse met the requirements for a common-law marriage when you signed the prenup, it may be invalid.
Agreement Signed Under Duress or Coercion
Each party must sign the prenuptial agreement voluntarily. If you can prove that you did not sign the prenuptial agreement voluntarily, the premarital agreement is not enforceable. It is not enough to assert that you did not read the contract or that the potential spouse urged you to sign it.
However, various threats, including legal or economic threats, may constitute duress or coercion. It’s not limited to situations where someone threatened you with physical violence.
Consider a case where one prospective spouse had the premarital agreement drafted alone and presented the contract just before the wedding ceremony. The spouse threatens to cancel the wedding if the contract isn’t signed. A court may find this situation to be duress or coercion.
The Agreement Is Unconscionable and Lacked Full Disclosure
Under Texas law, you can also invalidate an unconscionable agreement if you did not receive a fair financial disclosure.
The Family Code does not define the term “unconscionable.” A finding that the contract is unconscionable heavily depends on your circumstances. It can mean the contract is so oppressive that one side lacks reasonable options. If the agreement is extremely unfair—it could also signal coercion. An unconscionable agreement alone is not enough to void a prenuptial agreement. You also have to show that you did not receive a fair financial disclosure, which requires proof that
- Your spouse did not disclose their property and financial obligations;
- You did not waive your right to disclosure in writing; and
- You did not have, and could not have had, knowledge of your spouse’s financial obligations.
The potential difficulty in proving these elements makes getting assistance from an experienced family law attorney all the more critical. A skilled attorney will help you determine how to build a case to cancel a prenuptial agreement.
Do You Need Help Nullifying a Prenuptial Agreement? Contact The Larson Law Office Today
When you have questions about conditions that would nullify a prenuptial agreement—or any other inquiry about a contested divorce—we can help. The experienced Texas family law attorneys at The Larson Law Office are here to guide you every step of the way. With decades of combined legal experience, we can explain your legal options and aggressively fight for your rights.
The Larson Law Office, a family-owned business, focuses on client service. When you contact us to discuss how we can assist, you will speak with Diana Larson or Erik Larson, not an assistant or junior attorney. This level of personal representation will continue throughout your matter. We believe that this personalized skilled legal representation distinguishes our firm. Call us or complete our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation.