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Will your prenup protect you in the event of divorce?

Many California spouses are confident in their ability to retain certain assets in the event of a failed marriage. This is due to the fact that they drafted a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage. Doing so affords spouses a great deal of protection in the event of a divorce. However, if the document was not properly drafted or signed, the entire agreement can be thrown out of court and those protections lost.

One issue that can invalidate a prenuptial agreement is the inclusion of conditions that are unreasonable or simply ridiculous. Judges have been known to throw out prenups in which a spouse is required to perform sexual acts on a scheduled basis, agree to never gain weight or limit visits by in-laws. In order to ensure that your contract is upheld by a court of law, the provisions within should focus on the protection of personal assets, and not read as a Machiavellian list of personal demands.

Another issue involves the conditions under which the agreement is signed. In cases in which one party has legal counsel draft a prenup, and the other party simply signs without any form of independent legal counsel, the legitimacy of the contract can be later called into question. Another concern comes into play when one party is coerced to sign, or is asked to sign while under the influence of drugs.

The decision to make use of a prenuptial agreement is a solid financial choice. However, the manner in which the document ids drafted and signed is crucial. Understanding the proper use of a California prenup can help spouses achieve the protections they seek, and can help avoid unpleasant surprises in the event of a divorce.

Source: Forbes, "Five Reasons Your Prenup Might Be Invalid," Jeff Landers, April 2, 2013

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