07/01/2014 12:41 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2014

When a Prenup Gets Thrown Out

Many times people enter into agreements before marriage that outline how property will be divided and what alimony arrangements will take place at the time of a potential divorce. These "antenuptial" or "prenuptial" agreements are often attacked when the couple eventually files suit to dissolve their marriage.

When someone finds that the property to be received in a divorce is less than what normally would occur because of what is required by a prenuptial agreement, often the next step is to contact the best divorce lawyer you can find to try to get the agreement set aside. When the amount of alimony to be paid is far less than what the receiving spouse would receive without such an agreement, advice as to how to set aside the agreement becomes necessary.

A divorce judge will first look at whether the prenuptial agreement is unfair as compared to what the court would do without the agreement. For example, has one of the spouses given up property or alimony rights that would have been available during a divorce without the existence of a prenuptial agreement? If there is a significant difference in what the court would do with and without the existence of the agreement, then the court can determine that the agreement is unfair.

The next question in determining whether to set aside the agreement involves fraud or duress. Was undue pressure put on one spouse to get a signature on the agreement, such as first bringing up the agreement on the eve of the wedding after many expenses have been incurred and people have traveled long distances to attend? And did the other spouse fully disclose all finances in advance of the signing of the agreement?

The circumstances that lead to most prenuptial agreements being thrown out by the judges involve couples entering into the agreement just a few weeks before a wedding date that has been scheduled for many months or where there are no financial statements attached to the agreement.

If you are facing a divorce and prenuptial agreement is going to result in your getting less than you would get without the agreement, it is time to talk to a lawyer about how to get the agreement thrown out.

To learn more about prenuptial agreements, contact Stann at