5 Reasons Long Island Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Could Be Found Unenforceable
Traditionally, a premarital agreement (prenup) is signed by both parties before the wedding. A postnuptial agreement (postnup) is similar, however, it takes place after the wedding. These agreements are designed to protect the assets of each individual entering the marriage and provide a guide as to how property should be allocated and if alimony or spousal support will be paid and under what conditions, among other things. However, a prenup or postnup needs to be valid to be enforceable on Long Island. Here are 5 reasons your prenup or postnup could be found unenforceable.
#1. The Agreement Was Verbal
All Long Island prenuptial and postnuptial agreements must be made in writing and signed. Verbal agreements aren’t considered bound by law. It’s not necessary for a divorce attorney to review the agreement prior to signing, however, it is in your best interest to have a divorce lawyer review the agreement in advance. Both you and your spouse should each have independent lawyers review and suggest any changes to the agreement before either of you sign.
#2. You Signed the Agreement Under Duress
If you signed your prenup or postnup under duress or pressure, or were given very little time to review the agreement, it may be found invalid. Your spouse may have been the one to pressure you, or perhaps you felt pressured by your spouse’s lawyer or their family. Either way, an agreement signed under duress is unlikely to be enforceable.
#3. The Agreement Includes Invalid Provisions
Premarital and postmarital agreements cannot include certain things like child support or child custody arrangements. If it does, a judge may rule that none of the provisions in the agreement can be honored — even the valid ones. Be sure to have your lawyer check over your agreement to determine if it lists invalid provisions.
#4. The Agreement Includes Incomplete or Inaccurate Information
To be considered a legally enforceable document, your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement must have complete and accurate information. If any information is found to be false or incomplete, again, the entire document may be considered invalid.
#5. The Agreement is Unconscionable
A prenup or postnup doesn’t have to be completely fair to both parties to be enforceable. In fact, people can sign away their right to inherit their spouse’s assets upon their death and even sign away their right to collect spousal support if they get divorced. However, a prenup or postnup can’t be overwhelmingly unfair to one spouse or in favor of the other. An agreement of this nature will likely be considered unenforceable.
What Happens When a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement Is Found to Be Invalid?
Generally, if a prenup or postnup is found to be unenforceable, the document will be discarded for the purposes of the divorce and the divorce will proceed as if no prenup or postnup existed. This means that you’ll be subject to New York law, which is an equitable distribution state. Long Island courts will consider each spouse’s income and assets before the marriage and look at different ways assets can be divided fairly. Note that equitable does not mean equal — for example, instead of forcing the sale of a couple’s home and small business and splitting the funds equally, one spouse may get the house while the other spouse gets their small business if they’re worth roughly the same amount of money.
When to Contact a Long Island Divorce Lawyer
A Long Island divorce lawyer can help you determine whether or not your prenuptial agreement is enforceable and will work to protect your rights and best interests in the event of a divorce. Our Long Island divorce law firm is dedicated to helping the residents of Long Island, New York go through the difficult process of dissolving their marriage. Prenups and postnups are just one of the areas our team is skilled at, and we strive to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today at 631-237-3409 for a free consultation appointment to go over the specifics of your case and begin creating a strategy that works for your family.
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