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What can invalidate a pre- or postnuptial agreement?

| Feb 3, 2021 | Family Law & Divorce

With prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, something to keep in mind is that they can be invalidated. In most cases, there are only five things that can invalidate one of these contracts. They include:

  • Being coerced into signing the contact, signing under duress or signing without mental capacity
  • Having a contract that is too lopsided
  • Executing a pre- or postnuptial agreement without legal representation
  • Showing that the agreement is fraudulent
  • Showing that the paperwork wasn’t filed correctly

For the most part, other factors, such as abuse or affairs, won’t invalidate a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

If you want to protect yourself in those situations, then it’s a good idea to add a lifestyle clause to your document.

What is a lifestyle clause?

The lifestyle clause of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is designed by the couple and comes with repercussions. For example, if your clause says that the other spouse will obtain all marital assets if they are abused, then allegations of abuse would have to be taken very seriously. If there is a clause that gives away a larger portion of the marital assets in the case of adultery and a spouse can prove that it happened, then they could walk away from their marriage with more than the other party intended.

Having a lifestyle clause is a good idea if you’re concerned about how you’ll be treated during your marriage. It sets up expectations for both parties and may provide financial penalties to those who do not follow through on their obligations.

Lifestyle clauses are usually legal and enforceable. If you think that you want to include one in a pre- or postnuptial agreement, then it’s a good idea to talk to your attorney about what you can or cannot say in the clause. Being cautious about what you include could help you keep it enforceable in the future.

These clauses do need to be written up in specific, clear ways and include terms that would be legally enforceable. It’s worth adding so you and your spouse know the consequences for violating the terms of the contract.