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When would a prenuptial agreement be deemed invalid?

Many Florida residents have likely heard about prenuptial agreements when reading about celebrity divorces. However, many people think that only those couples who have accumulated wealth have the option to enter into a prenuptial agreement. The reality is that anyone who is interested in safeguarding assets, protecting property or keeping the family business from being divided in the event the marriage does not work out can draft a prenuptial agreement.

As the name suggests, the terms of a prenuptial agreements are entered into before the marriage and may be referred to by some as either a prenup or a premarital agreement. However, in order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid, the terms of the prenup should be fair and equitable; the decision to enter into a prenup should not be coerced. It is important for a couple considering drafting a prenuptial agreement to independently consult with a lawyer.

Some situations where a prenuptial agreement may be considered invalid by a court include the fact that the agreement was verbal, rather than there being a written agreement. Prenuptial agreements must be in writing. An improperly executed prenup will be deemed invalid. This means that both parties have to agree to and sign the terms of the prenup before they are married. If it is determined that one of the parties was coerced or pressured into signing the prenup, it will be considered invalid. It is very important for both parties to read the prenup before signing. Simply signing it because some papers were put before a person before marriage will invalidate the terms of the agreement. Both parties must read the terms closely and carefully before signing the document. Time and consideration must be given to each party to read and sign the document.

A prenuptial agreement must not contain invalid provisions, such as those that change child support obligations for either parent. Both sides must be truthful about their assets, wealth and liabilities when drafting a prenup. Falsifying or providing incomplete information will invalidate a prenuptial agreement.

Entering into a prenuptial agreement is a serious matter; a lot is at stake for both parties in a prenuptial agreement and it should not be taken lightly. It is a wonderful tool to protect assets, but it must be valid in order to be effective.

Source: FindLaw, "Top 10 Reasons a Premarital Agreement May be Invalid," accessed Jan. 19, 2015

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