Albuquerque premarital agreement attorneys

A prenuptial agreement can be a valuable tool for delineating how property division, alimony and other financial issues will be resolved in the event of a divorce or death of a spouse.  There are a wide range of benefits that a Santa Fe prenuptial agreement can provide, such as the resolution of issues in a way that is agreeable to both parties at the time the agreement is negotiated.  A prenuptial agreement also can prevent contentious and costly litigation if it is negotiated and executed properly.  However, there are reasons that a premarital agreement may be invalid or subject to challenge, so we have provided examples of several ways that a prenuptial agreement can be invalid.

The agreement is the product of coercion, mental incapacity or duress.

Although duress or coercion can be a grounds for contesting a prenuptial agreement, it can be difficult to prove and will requires persuasive advocacy regarding the factual circumstances that justify setting aside the prenuptial agreement.  A prenuptial agreement also may not be enforceable if you were in a state of mental incapacity when you executed the agreement.  Mental incapacity may be based on drug or alcohol intoxication or mental disease.

The party challenging the agreement was without legal representation at the time the agreement was executed.

A prenuptial agreement is more likely to be enforceable if both parties to the agreement are represented by their own independent attorneys.  Attorney representation by both parties makes it more likely that each party understood the terms of the agreement as well as the potential risks of entering into the prenuptial agreement.  When only the party that prepares the prenuptial agreement has legal representation, this increases the potential that the judge might set aside the agreement particularly if it is extremely one-sided.  When negotiating a prenuptial agreement, the other party should at least be encouraged to seek legal counsel if the party is not represented.  The agreement also can be drafted so that it acknowledges that the unrepresented party had the opportunity to seek legal counsel.

The agreement has provisions that are unenforceable.

While judges do not necessarily closely scrutinize the specific provision of a prenuptial agreement, there are provisions that can raise eyebrows and make the agreement vulnerable to challenge.  A waiver of child support, for example, is not legally enforceable.  Requirements regarding maintaining certain physical appearance or weight are also not likely to be enforced.

The prenuptial agreement was obtained by fraud or lack of proper disclosure.

Parties entering into a prenuptial agreement have an obligation to provide full disclosure regarding their finances and property.  If the assets, debts or the income of the parties is misrepresented or not fully disclosed, this may provide a basis for setting aside a prenuptial agreement.

If you have questions about drafting a prenuptial agreement or challenging the terms of such an agreement,  the Lightning Legal Group offers a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque during which we discuss your situation and answer your questions.  Call us today to schedule your free consultation at 505.247.2390 to learn about your rights and options.

The above information is designed solely to illustrate general principles of law, and does not constitute a specific legal opinion on individual cases. We suggest that you contact experienced legal counsel for a specific opinion tailored to your individual circumstances.

 

 

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