Many Texans sign prenuptial agreements “prenups” before they marry to protect their assets once they are married. Like other contracts, the prenup must comply with state law to be valid. If it does not, it could be overturned before or during divorce. The prenuptial agreement lawyer in Dallas at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, & Anderson can assist if you have legal questions about a prenup.
Why Might A Texas Court Overturn A Prenuptial Agreement?
Understanding why a prenup could be invalidated is critical so you know the errors to avoid. Below are the most common reasons Texas prenups are overturned:
The Agreement Is Unfair
The prenuptial agreement must be generally fair to both parties and not be unreasonable or oppressive; in the law, this is referred to as ‘unconscionable.’
What qualifies as unreasonable or unconscionable varies by case, but the prenup can be overturned if the judge decides the agreement is too one-sided to be fair. However, if you try to prove the prenup is unconscionable, you still may need to prove other parts are unfair to overturn the contract since prenups usually appear to be at least somewhat unfair to one party.
The Agreement Was Not Signed Before the Marriage
Under the law in Texas, the prenuptial agreement must be signed before the marriage (i.e., pre-nuptial). So even if you and your spouse signed the agreement right after the wedding, a court would probably say it is invalid because it was signed after the marriage.
A common issue with prenups is when the couple wants to draft an agreement, but they do not realize they are already married when the agreement is signed. This can happen in Texas because the state recognizes common-law marriage. If you live with your partner before the marriage and the relationship meets the definition of common-law marriage, the prenuptial agreement may be invalid since it was not done before the marriage
Prenup Is Badly Written
A prenuptial agreement is a contract and must be written clearly to be enforced. If the language needs to be clarified or made more specific, the contract needs to be interpreted by a court, and it may not be enforced in the manner one partner wants (or either party intended).
Lack Of Knowledge Of Finances
Before the prenuptial agreement is signed, it is required that both parties provide fair and reasonable disclosure of their finances to the other. In addition, each party must know enough about the other’s financial and property obligations for the disclosures to be valid.
One Party Was Coerced To Sign
Some Texas prenuptial agreements are overturned because it is discovered that one party forced the other to sign. The Texas Family Code requires both partners to sign the prenuptial agreement voluntarily or it will be deemed invalid.
If one of the partners does not freely sign the prenuptial agreement, the court will probably overturn it during divorce proceedings. However, you may be unsuccessful in arguing you signed it against your will if you say that you did not have the chance to read it carefully or that your partner would only marry if you signed it.
Usually, the person wanting to invalidate the prenup has to prove there was undue influence to get them to sign. Possibly not getting married to your partner alone is not sufficient to be “undue influence,” coercion, or “duress.”
Contact Our Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer In Dallas
It is difficult to invalidate a prenuptial agreement in Texas, but if any of the above reasons apply, you should seek legal remedies immediately. Contact our prenuptial agreement lawyer in Dallas at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, & Anderson for help with your prenuptial agreement.