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What are the grounds for voiding a prenup?

When couples sign prenuptial agreements, generally they remain enforceable in the event of a divorce. But some circumstances can warrant the document being voided by the court.

What would make a judge invalidate a prenup? Below are some possible scenarios that could get your prenup tossed out of divorce court.

-- Any agreement based on fraud.

Prenups require both parties to fully disclose all assets. Sometimes the wealthier spouse may attempt to undervalue some assets or omit them entirely from the prenuptial agreement. If this is the case, it could void the document.

-- Nobody filed the document, or it had major errors.

Prenups are only as good as the protection they provide. If somebody dropped the ball due to clerical errors or other mistakes, it can create problems.

-- One party signed the agreement under duress or coercion, or they lacked the legal or mental capacity to enter into such an agreement..

This can also apply to those who sign the documents when impaired by alcohol or drugs or when otherwise incapacitated.

-- One party signed without having the agreement reviewed and approved by his or her own attorney.

Sure, it might have sounded logical to listen to your fiancé or his parents and save the time and trouble of getting an independent attorney to review the agreement. But if you signed with no legal representation, it could be grounds to invalidate it.

-- The provisions it includes are outlandish or it heavily favors one spouse over the other.

Bizarre agreements to not gain weight, have a specific number of sexual encounters each week or to forbid an in-law from visiting won't hold up in front of a judge. Neither will attempts to force one spouse to walk away from the marriage with little more than the clothes on her back.

Prenups work best when they are fair and just to both parties. Having one in place can remove the uncertainty that a divorce can bring.

Source: Forbes, "Five Reasons Your Prenup Might Be Invalid," Jeff Landers, accessed Jan. 20, 2017

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