Forming a prenuptial agreement has many benefits, including that of avoiding disputes at the time of legal separation and divorce should a couple decide to part ways. However, while a prenuptial agreement may be a great tool for dividing property and splitting assets during a divorce in a manner that is quick and efficient, the process doesn’t always go as planned. In fact, one of the parties may try to argue that the prenuptial agreement is invalid, or that one part of the prenuptial agreement isn’t enforceable because it’s unconscionable. Consider these details about enforcing a prenuptial agreement in Massachusetts–
Is the Prenuptial Agreement Valid?
The first thing that the court will ask is whether or not the prenuptial agreement appears to be valid. In order to determine whether or not the prenuptial agreement is valid, and therefore enforceable, the court will ask:
- Did both parties fully disclose all of the details of their assets and debts?
- Did each party have their own attorney who could explain the terms of the prenup and represent each party’s rights and interests?
- Was the prenuptial agreement signed by both parties in advance of the wedding?
- Did each party sign the prenuptial agreement of their own free will, free of coercion or duress?
Is the Prenuptial Agreement Legal?
The second thing that a Massachusetts court will consider is whether or not the prenuptial agreement is legal. This means that the prenuptial agreement does not contain any provisions that are prohibited under Massachusetts law, such as a provision that one party will perform an illegal act (such as money laundering or tax evasion). The court will also consider whether or not there are any things included in the prenuptial agreement that are prohibited, but not necessarily illegal, such as language about child custody at the time of divorce. (Prenuptial agreements cannot address parental rights; instead, they are primarily reserved for financial issues only.)
Is the Prenuptial Agreement Conscionable?
Finally, the last thing that a court will look at is whether or not the prenuptial agreement is conscionable, which means that it is characterized by fairness and justice. For example, a prenuptial agreement that requires a spouse to waive their right to alimony in full, particularly in a high-asset marriage, may be considered unconscionable. If unconscionable provisions exist, the court may decide not to enforce these.
Get Help from an Experienced Massachusetts Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement Attorney
If you are getting a divorce and have questions about the enforcement of your prenuptial agreement, you should reach out to a qualified attorney who can protect your rights and interests. At the office of Heather Ward Law, Attorney Heather M. Ward has the reputation you deserve and will commit to working hard for you. For answers to your questions about divorce and the enforcement of prenuptial agreements in Massachusetts, reach out to Heather Ward Law today by phone at 617-903-8955 or online at your convenience.