Prenuptial agreements may be one of the least romantic conversations a newly engaged couple will have before the wedding day. The contract is an agreement between the two parties that determine how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce. The laws for prenuptial agreements are different in each state, but courts may consider dissolution of an agreement under certain circumstances.
Coercion and Fraud
Courts may void a prenuptial agreement if the party can prove that the document was signed through coercion or under duress. Fraud can include the willful failure to disclose financial assets before the parties sign the contract. In some cases, the court may dissolve a prenuptial agreement even if a failure to disclose assets was inadvertent. For example, the failure to disclose debt before a prenuptial agreement may cause a court to dissolve the agreement. Prenuptial agreements signed within days of the wedding may be evidence of coercion, according to the website Bankrate.com. If only one party has legal representation, the court may throw out the document, as well.
Verbal Prenuptials and Unsigned Documents
A party may have a case for the dissolving of a prenuptial agreement if one of the parties did not sign the contract. Verbal agreements may be difficult to enforce. Inadequate legal representation at the time the document was signed may also provide a justification for dissolution of the contract.
In some cases, the court may consider a financial imbalance between the parties before and after the signing of the prenuptial agreement. If the court finds that there is a drastic financial imbalance, the judge may dissolve the agreement. The court may determine the prenuptial agreement is unenforceable if changed circumstances cause one party to suffer extreme hardship and the change was not foreseeable at the time the parties signed the agreement. Judges have the ability to remove any item in a prenuptial agreement that appears unfair.
Courts will not enforce requirements in a prenuptial agreement such as the voiding of child support payments. The court may remove the unenforceable provision and uphold the rest of the document. For example, in Indiana a prenuptial agreement is not enforceable by the court if it is unconscionable, or unreasonable, at the time of execution.