If you are about to get married and you have assets and interests that you want to protect, any divorce lawyer will tell you that the best way to do so is to put together and execute a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements are basically the same as contracts in that they are binding on the parties that sign them. The same rules need to be followed in terms of what’s required for a contract to be valid and enforceable, but for years this was seen as the way to go for many reasons.
That all may have come crashing down, at least in New York, thanks to a ruling that was made by a court with regards to a prenuptial agreement that existed between spouses who were seeking a divorce. An appeals court there has thrown out a prenuptial agreement based on the assertion that the husband had ‘fraudulently induced’ his wife to sign it. The presence of any fraud in contract law renders a contract unenforceable.
The judge ruled that this ‘fraud’ involved the husband bringing up the issue of the prenuptial agreement four days before the wedding. The wife argued that she was basically forced to sign it or the wedding would not have happened. That would have cost her family a lot of money for the ceremony that would have been cancelled. She also claimed that the husband verbally promised to rip up the prenuptial agreement once they had children.
In a stunning decision that seems to go against almost all existing authority regarding contract law and the norms relating to prenuptial agreements, the judge agreed with the wife. Legal experts fear that this will open the floodgates and send people running to the nearest courthouse in an attempt to void their prenuptial agreements.
It should be stressed that this is not the way things work in California – this decision is limited to New York. However, if you are experiencing this type of a problem or any related to it, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers at the Men’s Legal Center to schedule an initial consultation.