If you’ve ever read the blogs on the website for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC then you know that prenuptial agreements are typically very strong in terms of their ability to hold up to scrutiny once signed by all both parties.
Even if one party has a change of heart or a regret for agreeing to what he or she did as long as some basic requirements are met there is not much someone can do to invalidate a prenuptial agreement. That isn’t to say that it’s impossible, however.
The Texas Family Code contains the requirements that a premarital agreement must embody. Today’s blog will discuss a few of the ways to do so.
The agreement must be signed prior to marriage
The prenuptial agreement must be signed prior to your marriage. This is key in a few different ways. For one, if for some reason your agreement was not signed by both you and your spouse then it is likely to be declared invalid even if one of you signed immediately after the wedding.
More interesting, in my opinion, is how your living conditions can impact just how “ironclad” a premarital agreement is. With more and more people cohabitating prior to marriage in today’s world, you and your partner may have met the requirements for a common law marriage even before actually getting legally married.
The effect of this is that a premarital agreement that you and your spouse had believed was signed correctly may be invalid due to your having been married (even unknowingly) prior to the document being signed.
This is something that most people would not consider and is a good way to attempt to invalidate a premarital agreement. If you are able to prove that you and your spouse were already common law married at the time of the signing of the document then you may be able to get the agreement tossed out of court.
The agreement must not be unconscionable
The prenuptial agreement must not be unconscionable when written. The term “unconscionable” is utilized more in the context of contract law than in family law. In fact, our Family Code does not define the word. You can hop online or dust off the old Webster’s Dictionary on your bookshelf to see the different definitions of the word, but for our purposes today we can think of unconscionable as meaning being so oppressive that one side lacks reasonable options as a result of having entered into the agreement.
Obviously, a lot would depend on your individual circumstances to determine unconscionability but if the agreement seems to be unfair to the extreme then it is possible that a court would determine the agreement to unconscionable.
If you are able to prove that the agreement is unconscionable you must still prove that other “voidable” conditions are met. It certainly is not advisable to negotiate an unconscionable agreement under any circumstances but it is not alone enough of a reason to void a prenup.
Agree must be signed after parties have knowledge of finances
The prenuptial agreement must be signed after both parties have knowledge of both person’s finances. If the prenuptial agreement that you signed was both unconscionable and was signed without knowledge of the other spouse’s financial state then the agreement can be declared invalid.
Here, we see that a court will not be quick to declare the agreement to be invalid unless you can show that not only did your partner not discuss their financial status with you but that you also would have had no reasonable way to learn about this subject in other ways.
Agreement Must be Signed Voluntarily
The prenuptial agreement must be signed voluntarily. Voluntarily entering into the prenuptial agreement is one of those additional circumstances that could invalidate a prenuptial agreement along with unconscionability. Both you and your spouse to be must sign the prenuptial agreement in accordance with each of your free will.
It is not enough to argue to a judge that you did not get a chance to review the document in full before signing. It is not enough to argue that your spouse would not marry you unless you signed the document. Only if there is evidence that your spouse attempted to blindside you with a prenup or deceived you in some extreme way would I think that this requirement would be met as well.
Agreement Must be Written Like a Texas Contract
The prenuptial agreement must be written like any other contract in Texas. Just because it is a prenuptial agreement and is governed in part by the Texas Family Code, does not mean that elements of contract law do not apply.
For instance, if a contract has language that is not clear then that section of the contract will be voided. Non-specific language about a particular subject is recipe for disaster in both contract law and family law in this context.
Agreement Must be in Writing
The prenuptial agreement must be in writing. Since we just discussed how a prenuptial agreement is like any other contract, we may as well finish our discussion today by stating that a prenuptial agreement has to be in writing for a court to declare it to be enforceable. In fact, if you go into the Texas Family Code you will see that a prenuptial agreement must both be in writing and signed by both you and your future spouse.
Oral contracts for a premarital agreement will suffice even if it the conversation was recorded by one of you. While the requirements for a premarital agreement are not many as you can tell from reading this blog there are ways to declare a premarital agreement void even if these couple of requirements are met.
Questions on invalidating a premarital agreement? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC today
In order to learn more about premarital agreements please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. A licensed family law attorney is available to you six days a week in order to schedule a free of charge consultation for you. Our office represents clients across southeast Texas and would be honored to speak to you about doing the same for you and your family.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Prenuptial Agreements in Texas
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- Attacking the Enforceability of a Premarital Agreement in a Texas Divorce
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Pre-nuptial Agreement Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding Pre-nuptial Agreements, it's important to speak with a Kingwood, TX Pre-nuptial Agreement Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A Pre-nuptial Agreement Lawyerin Kingwood TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.