Are all prenuptial agreements upheld?

If you have signed a prenuptial agreement, you might feel confident that you have largely resolved your property division issues if you should divorce. Many prenuptial agreements can be of great help to the spouses who sign them, but they are not immune from challenge. Sometimes a judge finds an unacceptable provision in the agreement, or that one spouse signed the agreement under dubious circumstances.

According to Forbes, some states will void a prenuptial agreement if the spouses did not have their own legal counsel to assist them. A spouse without an attorney to represent them may sign an agreement without knowing what the agreement actually says. Judges will be on the lookout for indications that spouses signed an agreement under coercion or that they did not understand what they were signing.

Judges have also thrown out prenups if couples signed them too close to a wedding date. Spouses should have time to evaluate and discuss a prenuptial agreement without the pressure of a wedding looming on the horizon. Otherwise, a judge might suspect that one spouse pushed the other to sign a prenup without adequate time to consider it.

Prenups should also treat the spouses fairly. A judge may decide not to uphold a prenuptial agreement if it leaves a spouse with little money and no spousal support. While couples can work out alimony agreements in a prenuptial agreement, a judge will likely void a prenup if its provisions are too unfair. Judges may also invalidate prenuptial agreements if both spouses do not report all their assets on it.

Additionally, spouses cannot use prenuptial agreements to dictate child support and child custody arrangements. State laws and judges retain jurisdiction over child support and custody and will not permit couples to restrict them in their prenups. The good news is that prenuptial agreements can clearly establish separate property and inheritance rights so spouses can leave inheritances for each other and their children.