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Can a prenuptial agreement be deemed invalid?

Some engaged couples in Mississippi waiting to "get hitched" may have taken the practical (albeit, not very romantic) step of creating a prenuptial agreement (a prenup.) They may rightly recognize that a well-drafted prenuptial agreement can protect both of their rights during the marriage. And if they divorce, the entire process may run more smoothly and with less strife with a prenuptial agreement in place. However, there are some circumstances in which a prenuptial agreement may be deemed invalid.

First of all, there are technicalities that can invalidate a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement cannot be oral. It must be written. Moreover, it must be signed by both parties prior to their wedding date. Also, each party needs to have independent counsel representing their interests when the prenup is being drafted and executed. That is, one lawyer cannot act on behalf of both parties.

However, there can be more nefarious reasons why a prenuptial agreement might be deemed invalid. One is if one party was unduly pressured into signing the prenup, when he or she may otherwise not have done so. Providing false or incomplete information may also make a prenup invalid. In addition, a prenup could ultimately be unconscionable if it is so grossly unfair that it would cause one spouse to be in a place of extreme financial hardship while the other spouse greatly benefited from the agreement.

Moreover, there must be time for both parties to consider and review the prenup. A prenup a couple tries to execute the day before they are to walk down the aisle may be declared invalid. Similarly, both parties must have read the prenup in order for it to be valid. If your betrothed suddenly puts a lengthy prenup in front of you, and requested that you just sign it right there and then without reading it first, the prenup might not be valid. In addition, it cannot contain any invalid provisions, such as those affecting child support.

As you can see, while couples may have the best of intentions in creating a prenup, it is not necessarily something they want to handle on their own. Instead they may each want to enlist the help of their own attorneys, not only to ensure that the prenuptial agreement will be valid, but also to represent their interests. This could help ensure that the prenup is enforceable down the road if need be.

Source: FindLaw, "Top 10 Reasons a Premarital Agreement May be Invalid," Accessed Oct. 31, 2016

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