When people in Mississippi are planning to marry, they are likely in the haze of a happy relationship. It may seem natural for each person to trust his or her partner. As a result, a trusting partner likely has no reason to doubt the word of his or her soon-to-be spouse. Unfortunately, one woman has found, after filing for divorce, that her faith in her now-estranged husband regarding a prenuptial agreement was misplaced.
The woman claims that, when she and her wealthy husband were engaged, they visited his parents who lived out of the country in 1997. At that time, she says that his parents presented her with a prenuptial agreement written in German, which she does not speak or understand. Both her fiance and his parents assured her that the prenuptial agreement only protected the parents' assets in the case of a divorce. Trusting them, she signed the agreement.
When she filed for a divorce in 2012, she found out that the prenuptial agreement written in German had actually stated that she did not have any rights to her husband's estate, which is estimated to be worth millions. Her husband even testified in court that he was not concerned with whether the woman understood German and did not offer to translate the document at the time. Because a judge has ruled that the woman's understanding of the terms of the document was critical and that she had every reason to trust her fiance when she had signed the prenuptial agreement, the document was declared invalid.
A prenuptial agreement can be an excellent tool when planning for the future. For such a document to be legally binding in the event of a divorce, however, it must meet certain conditions. For those in Mississippi who are considering marriage, an experienced attorney can help draft and/or review such an agreement to ensure that the terms are fair and enforceable.
Source: New York Post, "Judge says 'Nein!' to prenup because wife can't read German", Julia Marsh, Jan. 30, 2015