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Will your prenup hold up in court?

Before your wedding day, you and your then-fiancé signed a prenuptial agreement. Now that your husband has asked for a divorce, you have been wondering if you will be bound by the contract. Like with many other legal questions, the answer is maybe. For example, did you know that a Virginia court can throw out the prenuptial agreement if certain conditions exist? While it has generally been difficult for a spouse to convince a court that a prenuptial agreement should be void, it has been known to happen.

In cases like yours, where the husband convinced his wife to sign a prenuptial agreement and now wants a divorce, you may be able to prove to a judge that there are defensible grounds to revoke the contract. Read further to find out more about conditions that may result in an invalid prenup.

Fraud

When you sign a prenuptial agreement, you are doing so with the impression that it contains the full details on the assets of each spouse. This means that if your husband left out any assets or undervalued them, the court may declare the agreement to be completely invalid.

Coercion

If your husband pressured you or took advantage of an incapacitated state to get you to sign the prenuptial agreement, you may be able to argue that you were under duress, coerced or did not have the mental wherewithal at the time of the signing. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to prove this in many cases.

Misfiled or incorrect

Like with any contract, a prenuptial agreement has to meet certain legal requirements in order to be valid. If you incorrectly drafted the document or did follow proper legal procedures, then the court may declare it invalid.

You didn't have your own lawyer

When you entered into the prenuptial agreement, both you and your husband should have had your own, separate lawyers. If he had his lawyer draw up the agreement and you simply signed it without your own legal representation, an Alexandria judge might rule in your favor.

Unfair provisions

If the prenuptial agreement heavily favors your future ex-husband then it will likely be invalid. For example, if he demands a divorce and the prenup leaves you with almost nothing or denies support for children that resulted from the marriage, then the court will probably throw it out. In addition, if there are provisions that are unconscionable or outlandish, the agreement will more than likely not stand up in court.

If you are on the verge of divorce and you are concerned by the prenuptial agreement you signed, there are certain conditions that may make it invalid in the eyes of the court.

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Jeffrey A. Vogelman and Associates
124 South Royal Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone: 703-650-0367
Fax: 703-836-3549
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