Many couples in Michigan believe that signing a prenuptial agreement is a smart move. Most experienced divorce lawyers agree that prenuptial agreements can actually strengthen a marriage by resolving thorny problems of property division, spousal support and child support before those problems actually arise. But what about someone who realizes that signing a prenuptial agreement may have been a grievous mistake. Can the agreement be declared invalid?
The simple answer
Under the proper circumstances, a prenuptial agreement can be declared to be invalid. However, the person challenging the enforcement of the pre-nup must prove that the agreement fails to satisfy one of several tests of the validity of a prenuptial agreement.
Failure to adhere to formalities
All prenuptial agreements in Michigan must be in writing and be signed by the parties before the marriage. The failure to follow either of these requirements will cause the court to reject the agreement. The party contesting the agreement must have had adequate time to read the document and review it with a lawyer. Undue pressure from the party seeking to enforce the agreement may lead a judge to declare the document invalid.
Fraud and Unconscionability
If the person seeking to enforce the prenuptial agreement can be shown to have misrepresented crucial facts, such as net worth or the value of certain assets, the agreement may be struck down. If the party seeking to enforce the agreement was not candid about financial matters before the agreement was signed, the agreement most likely will be held to be unenforceable. If the terms of the agreement are so unfair as to be deemed to be unconscionable, the party seeking enforcement will be denied relief.
Anyone faced with a claim to enforce a prenuptial agreement or who intends to enforce such an agreement may wish to speak with an experienced divorce attorney. A knowledgeable family lawyer can evaluate the enforceability of the agreement and offer advice on whether it can be enforced.