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Prenuptial agreement thrown out in landmark divorce ruling

Prenuptial agreements are supposed to protect spouse's assets in the event of divorce. While couples getting divorce can try and have the prenuptial agreement voided or thrown out, it doesn't happen very often. However, a recent divorce case shows just how rare it is to have a prenuptial agreement vacated and the ruling may impact future divorce cases.

In a landmark ruling for divorce cases, a judge recently ruled that a divorcing couple's prenuptial agreement should be voided because the husband forced his wife to sign it before they got married. An appellate panel ruled that the husband "fraudulently induced" his spouse into signing the prenuptial agreement after the wife said her husband coerced her into signing the document just days before their wedding in 1998.

The wife testified that her husband forced her to sign the prenuptial agreement, saying that he told her he would call of the wedding if she didn't sign it. The prenuptial agreement included stipulations that the husband would keep everything in his name if they divorced. The wife, who is stay-at-home mom, said that her husband promised to put their house in both of their names after they were married and he also said he would "tear up" the prenup after they had children.

However, the prenup was never destroyed and now that the couple is divorcing, the wife decided to try and have the prenup thrown out because she was coerced into signing it in the first place.

The appellate panel said that they voided the prenuptial agreement because they found the husband's behavior to be very suspicious and he did not seem credible. Family law experts say that the court ruling is "unprecedented" because prenups have never been vacated before based on verbal promises from a spouse.

Family law experts believe that this case could have a significant impact on future cases where spouses challenge a prenup because there has now been a ruling in favor of vacating the document.

Source: Daily Mail, "Millionaire's wife rips up her pre-nup after court rules she was forced to sign it four days before luxury wedding," Jill Reilly, March 11, 2013

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