Most Floridians who are contemplating a second or third (or more) marriage will most likely think about whether to ask the other party to the marriage to sign a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements (or “prenups” as they are sometimes called) are very helpful in solving problems if the contemplated marriage begins to fall apart. But what happens if a prenuptial agreement turns out to be unfair or oppressive. Can it be broken?
The answer to the question is “yes,” with an important qualifier, depending upon the circumstances. Florida law, like the laws of most states, imposes certain requirements that govern the enforceability of prenups. The most fundamental requirements for a valid prenup is that they be in writing and signed by both parties before the wedding. If either of these requirements is missing, the prenup is not enforceable by either party. If one spouse was pressured by the other spouse to sign the prenup, or was denied adequate time to read it or seek a review by an independent attorney, the prenup cannot be enforced against that party.
Fraud or unfairness
The foregoing reasons for invalidating a prenup are straightforward and almost admit to a simple yes or no judgment. However, other reasons that courts use to invalidate a prenup are more common but hard to predict. These causes include fraud, failure to disclose financial information, and general unconscionability. A spouse cannot enforce a prenup if he or she failed to make a complete and accurate disclosure of financial information before the prenup was signed. A prenup can also fail if one or more terms are deemed to be extremely unfair to the party against whom enforcement is sought.
How to handle
Anyone who is faced with the enforcement of a prenuptial agreement that may fail for any of the reasons stated above may wish to consult an experienced family lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney can evaluate the agreement in light of the factors discussed above. A capable lawyer can provide advice on the enforceability of the agreement and can suggest legal strategies to either defeat or enforce the prenup.