Can A Prenuptial Agreement (Prenup) Be Broken?

Prenuptial agreements are commonly entered into by two people prior to marriage, usually in cases where when one or both parties have acquired substantial property or other assets independently before being wed.

As is sometimes the case, spouses-to-be will agree to a prenup and then later one will regret it when the marriage does not work out.

This often leaves the unhappy party wondering – can a prenup be broken?

Despite a prenuptial agreement being a legally binding contract, there are certain situations that may permit a prenup to be broken. But before a prenup agreement can be nullified, it first needs to be challenged.

How to Challenge a Prenup

Challenging a prenuptial agreement requires the use of a divorce attorney. The attorney will carefully review the original prenup agreement and then ask you a series of questions, including but not limited to:

  • When did you sign the prenup agreement?
  • Were you given an opportunity to review the agreement or have your attorney review it before signing it?
  • How much did you know about your partner’s finances (or debts) prior to signing the agreement?
  • Has your or your spouse’s financial situation changed since the prenup was signed?

You have the option to challenge only certain parts of your prenup or the entire agreement, but in either case, it is always best to have your attorney review your prenuptial agreement before you start the process of separating or divorcing your spouse.

On What Grounds Can a Prenuptial Agreement Be Broken?

There are typically three reasons that will serve as grounds for nullifying a prenup and they are: 

  • Unconscionability
  • Failure to disclose
  • Duress and coercion

Unconscionability pertains to cases where the agreement is decidedly unfair to one party. It is important to note, however, that just because one spouse receives more than the other under the terms of the agreement does not automatically make the agreement unconscionable.

When a prenuptial agreement is signed, the agreement is based on the amount of alimony or property division each spouse would receive in a divorce and that amount is dependent on each spouse’s income and wealth. If your spouse hid assets or did not tell you about valuable business interests they held, then this would qualify as failure to disclose and give you legal grounds for having your prenup nullified. 

Signing the prenup while under duress and coercion is also grounds for nullifying a prenup. An example would be being made to sign the prenup on the day before or of your wedding. In this case, you would not have been granted sufficient time to fully review the agreement or have your attorney review it. 

Reduce the Risk of Having to Challenge Your Prenup by Using a Skilled Mediator

Prenup challenges usually arise when one spouse feels undervalued or slighted by the separation of property as outlined in their agreement. This often occurs when the prenuptial agreement is worked out by attorneys and not by the two people who will be impacted by the results. Prenups always work best when the two spouses can work together to create an agreement that satisfies both of their needs fairly.

Hiring a skilled and compassionate Mediator is one of the most effective ways to ensure your prenup is fair and equitable for both you and your spouse. You can have in depth conversations with your spouse in a calm and comfortable environment with a Mediator present to ensure the details of the agreement get worked out peacefully and fairly. 

Nobody who enters into a prenup does so with the intention of one day divorcing their spouse, but divorces happen, so it is best to be prepared should your marriage not work out. Contact Mediation Professionals of Long Island today and schedule a meeting with one of our Mediators to discuss how we can help you and your spouse create your prenuptial agreement.

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