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Understanding unconscionable prenuptial provisions

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2019 | Family Law |

Prenuptial agreements can provide a way for a Connecticut divorce to sail through smoother waters by addressing potentially explosive concerns in advance, like how assets are divided. However, a prenuptial agreement can lose its enforcement power if it is drafted in such a way that a court would find its provisions unconscionable. To help ensure your prenup is sustained, it is important to understand why judges may find problems with a prenuptial agreement.

According to FindLaw, some spouses may sign away financial rights and benefits in a prenuptial agreement. They might give up the right to inherit assets from the other spouse in the event of a divorce. They could also sign away spousal support rights. They might also surrender rights to property and assets, and agree to less than equitable distribution of marital debt where they pay more than half of it.

However, a judge may become suspicious if a spouse is giving up far too much and taking on a great financial burden. A spouse that gives up the right to receive assets and spousal support, especially from a partner that makes a lot of money, runs the risk of becoming financially destitute. A prenuptial agreement that risks this happening is likely to be determined by a judge to be incredibly unfair to one spouse. As a result, the agreement may not be enforced.

As Forbes explains, other factors may work in concert to invalidate a prenuptial agreement. Judges generally do not look favorably on prenups where one spouse had to sign it under coercion or without adequate time to read it. Spouses should also retain their own attorneys to help them understand the agreement before signing it. A spouse who hides information that is needed to properly compose a prenup could also create grounds for a judge to invalidate the agreement.

The possibility of a judge not enforcing a prenuptial agreement makes properly composing one all the more important. Even if you have not composed a prenup and are already married, you could still create a postnuptial agreement, though a postnup may also be invalidated due to unconscionable provisions. Asking an attorney questions you may have about a pre- or postnuptial accord might provide some benefit.