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Is it possible to challenge a prenup during a Virginia divorce?

| Jun 12, 2020 | Divorce |

Prenuptial agreements usually serve two primary purposes. The first is to create expectations for the marriage. The second is to delineate how the couple intends to split up their shared assets or what possessions they wish to designate as separate property in the event of a divorce. 

People often create prenuptial agreements or sign them at a point where they have unrealistic expectations about their relationship. Years later, when divorce seems imminent, they no longer feel pleased or confident about the terms included in the document. Is it possible for you to challenge a prenuptial agreement in a pending Virginia divorce?

You have to have grounds to challenge a contract like a prenup

By its very nature, a prenuptial agreement is meant to be a binding contract between futures spouses. However, as with any contract, there are circumstances that can invalidate the contract itself or one person’s participation in its signing. 

For example, if the documents include illegal provisions, the courts may choose not to uphold those individual clauses or may determine that those illegal inclusions invalidate the contract. It is also possible for those who claim unusual circumstances, including duress at the time of signing or fraud to challenge a prenuptial agreement they signed. Someone who signed without their own attorney could also possibly challenge their prenup. 

The courts often won’t uphold unbalanced or unethical agreements

A contract is meant to be a voluntary agreement that offers benefits and protections to all parties signing it. All too often, prenuptial agreements only protect the rights or interests of one party. The courts often deem an unbalanced prenuptial contract to be unconscionable because it protects one spouse at the expense of the other. 

Reviewing the terms in your prenup and the circumstances surrounding its creation can help you determine if you have grounds to challenge it in your pending divorce.