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Disputing the Enforceability of a Premarital Agreement

Posted on in Prenuptial Agreements

Texas divorce lawyerMany couples who enter into a marriage with significant assets of their own choosing to create a premarital agreement, which ensures that property acquired prior to the marriage will not be divided upon divorce. However, prenuptial agreements are only enforceable in court if they are created in accordance with specific standards, so if you or your future spouse have significant assets, it is critical to speak with an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can ensure that your agreement is valid and will not later be thrown out by the court.

Defenses to Enforcement

There are only a few ways that a person can defeat a premarital agreement, including by proving that:

  • The agreement was executed involuntarily; or
  • The agreement is unconscionable.

Furthermore, even when an agreement as a whole cannot be invalidated, a provision contained within it can be challenged if it qualifies as a prohibited contractual term.

Involuntary Execution

In Texas, premarital agreements are not enforceable if the petitioner can prove that the agreement was not executed voluntarily. While state law does not define “voluntarily,” courts have routinely described it as an intentional act that is the product of someone’s exercise of free will and is not constrained by external force, interference, or influence.

Unconscionability

Premarital agreements are also not enforceable if the petitioner proves that the contract was unconscionable and that before signing, he or she:

  • Was not provided with a fair and reasonable disclosure of the other party’s financial obligations or property;
  • Did not voluntarily and expressly waive in writing any right to disclosure; and
  • Did not know the other party’s property or financial obligations.

To determine whether an agreement was unconscionable courts look to the entire atmosphere in which the agreement was made, as well as:

  • Whether any alternatives were made available to the other party;
  • Whether one party took advantage of the other party’s lack of education or knowledge;
  • Whether the contract was illegal or in violation of public policy; and
  • Whether the contract is unreasonable or oppressive.

However, these defenses do not absolve the parties of the responsibility to read and carefully consider contracts before signing them, so even if a party entered into an unfair contract, it will not be invalidated by a court in the absence of evidence of fraud, duress, or unconscionability. This makes it especially important for those who believe that their premarital agreement is unenforceable to speak with an experienced attorney who can help establish the legal elements necessary to invalidate it.

Call Our Legal Team Today

If you entered into a premarital agreement and have reason to believe that it is unenforceable, please contact us to speak with one of the dedicated Leander high asset divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of William D. Powers today. We can begin working on your case immediately.

 

Source:

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/FA/htm/FA.4.htm

The Law Offices of William D. Powers

8911 N. Capital of Texas Highway, Building 2, Suite 2105, Austin, TX 78759