For those of you just joining us on this topic, we are discussing whether or not it is possible to challenge a prenuptial agreement in Michigan. The answer is yes, it is difficult but certainly possible. There are a couple of things you need to understand about why that’s possible. A prenuptial agreement is an investment in your future. One that will help you keep your wealth and protect your assets in the event that your marriage doesn’t work out. But there are important factors than can invalidate a prenup when not taken into consideration.
Having discussed the first five items on our list of things to keep in mind when writing up your prenuptial agreement, we would like to move on and wrap this up by looking at the last few things on our list. So here goes…
Child Related Provisions:
In order to be enforceable, a prenup can’t include any provisions relating to the children of the marriage. Topics like as custody and child support should never be included in your prenuptial agreement. Agreements of this nature are considered to be contrary to public policy, and are therefore unenforceable by the Court. All such provisions will be completely disregarded by the Court, who will make all decisions in keeping with “the best interests of the children” mandate. Also, it is worth remembering that it isn’t outside of the realm of possibility for the Court to simply invalidate the entire agreement if such provisions are included.
Last Minute Signatures:
When a prenup is signed just weeks or even days before the wedding, this can be interpreted as a form of duress or coercion by the Court. This is because it can later be explained as one partner putting off the signing until the last moment because they were uncomfortable with the terms. This in and of itself can be viewed as coercion, as a person may sign at the last moment in order to avoid the drama of cancelling a wedding shortly before it is scheduled to happen.
Making promises to the person you are going to marry in order to get them to sign a prenup, but later not following up on your promises, can have disastrous results. In the case of Peter and Elizabeth Petrakis, their prenup was rendered invalid by the court because Peter had promised to tear it up when their first child was born. He later changed his mind and tried to enforce the prenup when the couple was divorced. As a result, the court accused him of fraud. No agreement that an individual was fraudulently induced to sign will hold up in court. So don’t make promises that you don’t intend to keep.
The enforceability of any legal agreement depends on the exact wording of that agreement. If your prenuptial agreement contains ambiguous wording, it may be challenged in court and not hold up to judicial scrutiny. This is just one more reason why it is important to have an experienced attorney help you to draw up your prenuptial agreement.
Unenforceable provisions refers to specific provisions included in a prenup that the court views as unacceptable or unenforceable. For example, requiring that one spouse maintain a certain weight in order to receive their portion of a prenup would generally cause the Court to disregard this. This could also include things like insisting that one spouse always perform certain chores, or always be available on certain evenings. These provisions are usually disregarded by the Court and can weaken the entire prenuptial agreement. Agreements can also be challenged because the circumstances of the spouses have changed so drastically during the marriage, that enforcing the agreement would be inequitable.
We hope that this two part series has provided you with a better idea of what to do and what not to do when writing up your prenuptial agreement. However, all of these issues can be avoided by simply having an experienced attorney who is familiar with prenuptial contracts and the law help you to prepare your prenup. At The Kronzek Firm we work hard to remain constantly up to date on any changes in the law, so that we can provide our clients with premium legal representation during both their premarital planning and their divorces. We can help you too. Call us at (248) 306-4004.