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Attorneys Vic Hill and Brad MacDonald

Was your prenuptial agreement too unreasonable?

Many high wage earners go into their marriages with ideas about how they can protect their assets. Usually, prenuptial agreements come up as a way to protect their earnings, retirement and assets.

It’s reasonable to use a prenuptial agreement to protect yourself, but if your prenuptial agreement is too one-sided, it may be challenged when you go through a divorce.

Is your prenuptial agreement too lopsided to stand up in court?

One thing that courts do look at is how lopsided a prenuptial agreement is. Keep in mind that prenuptial agreements are meant to protect both parties in some way.

When the provisions in a prenuptial agreement are considered to be “ridiculous” or “extreme,” then a judge may decide to throw them out and to work with the case as if a part or all of the prenuptial agreement never existed.

Most judges will look past individual contracts, because those are between you and your spouse. However, there are some issues that can draw attention and lead to the prenuptial agreement being invalidated. Some might include:

  • Provisions stating that you won’t pay child support
  • Provisions stating that your spouse won’t get any support if they gained weight or changed their hair color
  • Illegal requests
  • Child custody arrangements
  • Agreements that go against public policy or that incentivize divorce

If you think that your prenuptial agreement has provisions that might be seen as too extreme, you have some options to consider.

You could renegotiate if your prenuptial agreement is lopsided

You may decide to negotiate with your spouse directly and see if they’re happy with a settlement that is a little less one-sided. For example, if your original prenuptial agreement said they’d walk away with only their original property, you might decide to offer to pay them out based on the equity of a property that grew during the marriage.

You can also take a stance that your prenuptial agreement should remain valid, and in that case, fight to be able to maintain it as it is. You should know your legal options in advance, so you can decide how to approach the risk of your prenuptial agreement being thrown out.