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I have a prenup: Will it be enforced?

Prenuptial agreements can be a critical tool in just about any marriage. They can set rules and sort out complex financial issues when two people are planning for a future together. However, issues can and do arise when it comes time to enforce a prenuptial agreement.

While it is generally preferable to address and resolve any potential issues prior to signing a prenuptial agreement, things change and unforeseen situations can arise between the time a prenup is signed and when it is going to be enforced. If you have a prenup in place, you should know that it is possible to have the document or certain clauses set aside if there are invalid terms.

Invalid terms can include anything that makes a legal agreement unenforceable. Generally speaking, these invalid terms fall into two categories: legal procedure issues and documentation issues.

In terms of procedure, prenuptial agreements must comply with strict rules to be legal and valid. This means they must be in writing and signed by both parties. Further, both parties must have had sufficient time to review the document with an attorney and make changes. It must also be signed before the wedding.

What is contained in the document itself must also meet certain requirements to be enforceable. A prenuptial agreement cannot include any illegal terms or be grossly unfair to one party. It must reflect full and accurate information for both parties. If a document does not meet these guidelines, certain clauses or the entire document may be thrown out.

As we mentioned earlier, working with an attorney to avoid any of these potential problems before signing a prenup can help you avoid considerable frustration and headache down the road. However, just because you have a signed prenup does not mean it cannot be challenged. Discussing your options to enforce or dispute your prenup with your lawyer can be crucial in protecting yourself and your rights.

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