Two people who wish to be married and who have valuable properties and assets need to protect themselves against the down-the-road possibility of a high asset divorce. Such couples commonly prepare prenuptial agreements before saying, "I do." However, such agreements may be subject to modification or dismissal if one party was coerced into signing the prenup.
Houston, Texas, spouses should take a lesson from a widely reported high asset divorce case. Reportedly, an appellate court has supported a lower court judge's decision to declare a woman's prenuptial agreement with her millionaire husband void because, purportedly, the husband made false promises in order to force her to sign the agreement.
The wife claims that before their 1998 wedding, her husband swore that he would destroy the agreement once they had their first child, in addition to promising to put her name on the deed of the house. These promises were not included in the prenuptial agreement, nor were they kept after the wedding. The court judged that the woman signed the prenup under duress.
Generally, prenuptial agreements are signed before tying the knot. However, the months before the wedding can be emotional, and hammering out the agreement can only add more stress. For these reasons, a prenuptial agreement that is finalized under time pressure can be deemed void. Both parties need the time to review the agreement and think things over.
Despite the fact that the prenup in this case was declared void, creating such an agreement can be valuable. Prenuptial agreements can allow high asset divorce cases to be resolved smoothly and protect each party's assets and interests in property division. A legal professional can help in this process.
Source: Huffington Post, "Are prenups dead?," Steven J. Eisman, March 14, 2013