Brooklyn, NY – Couples who are about to marry may choose to draft a prenuptial agreement that will determine who retains certain assets if the marriage should ever end. In most cases, the terms of this agreement will be followed without issue when the couple divorces. However, there is a possibility that a few different legal doctrines may come into play which invalidate the agreement and treat the divorce as if the prenuptial contract never existed.
The spouses did not each have their own lawyer
If both parties to the agreement drafted, reviewed, and signed the document with only one attorney present, this can create a clear conflict of interest. Any court that reviews a prenuptial agreement made with the assistance of only one attorney will scrutinize the document much more carefully for issues, especially those related to unfair bargaining power.
The doctrine of duress has been used to invalidate many kinds of legal agreements, including those related to marriages. Duress can happen if the agreement is made very shortly before the wedding, there was evidence of unfair pressure on one spouse to sign the document, or if the person did not understand the terms but felt compelled to sign it anyway. Ideally, the document should be completed with plenty of time left before the marriage and both spouses should have a chance to review the terms completed before consenting.
Lack of sound mind at the time of execution
If one or both parties were mentally incapacitated, intoxicated, or had other issues at the time of signing the document that would prevent them from understanding the situation and taking it seriously, then it may be considered invalid. Any kind of legally binding agreement should only be signed when both parties are able to fully comprehend its terms.
A prenuptial agreement requires a complete accounting of each spouse’s financial situation. If one or both spouses hide certain items or lied about their financial situation, then the document cannot be considered valid because it was based on fraudulent or incomplete terms.
Unfair bargaining power
When a spouse with more money and assets tries to have their attorneys draft a document that is totally for their benefit, this can be invalidated by a court. Any kind of legally binding agreement will be reviewed by courts for significant issues related to the total benefit of one party and the detriment of the other.
Finding legal advice in New York
Elliot Green Law Offices is a family law firm that assists clients in the Brooklyn area with their divorces, child custody hearings, support payments, and other problems. Anyone who needs to speak with an attorney can contact their offices to get immediate help.
Firm contact info:
32 Court Street, Suite 404, Brooklyn, NY, 11201