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Escaping from an unfair pre-nuptial agreement

On Behalf of | May 22, 2024 | Prenuptial Agreements |

Prenuptial agreements  in Florida marriages were once as rare as long-term marriages in the state.

In the last three or four decades, however, these agreements have become a staple of a person’s second or third marriage and are commonly seen in marriages between persons of average financial resources.

Unhappily, the increase in the number of prenup agreements has led to a corresponding increase in the number of individuals attempting to convince judges to declare a prenup agreement invalid.

Many people wonder whether prenups are enforceable in Florida. They are, but the circumstances may differ sharply from one case to another.

This post will summarize the five most common reasons given by judges in ordering that a particular aspect of a prenup renders it invalid.

  1. Fraud. One spouse may often make a material misrepresentation in the course of negotiating the terms of the prenup. For example, the potential husband may intentionally misstate his net worth to convince the potential wife to sign the agreement. Or a misrepresentation may be used convince the other spouse to agree to a term that is plainly unfair to the other party. In any event, the misrepresentation if proved can persuade the judge to rule that the agreement – or the specific term – is unenforceable.
  2. Coercion. The agreement will also be ruled to be unenforceable if the signature of the party against whom enforcement is sought was obtained by duress or made without sufficient mental capacity. A person who was under the influence of drugs when the agreement was signed may be able to use this fact to have the agreement invalidated.
  3. Failure to observe formalities. In virtually every state, a prenup must be written and signed by both partners before the wedding. If this requirement is not followed, the agreement will not be enforced.
  4. Lack of legal representation. Virtually all states, including Florida, make access to competent legal advice a prerequisite to forming a valid prenup. If the spouse seeking enforcement of the agreement took an action that can be interpreted as attempting to deprive the other spouse of the opportunity to obtain such advice, that action will usually be sufficient to persuade the judge to invalidate the agreement.
  5. Unconscionable or unreasonable provisions. If the couple’s married life demonstrates that the agreement is inherently and consistently unfair to one party, that party may be able to obtain an annulment of the agreement.

Litigating the validity and enforceability of a prenup agreement is a difficult and complex legal matter. It should not be undertaking lightly.



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