Divorcing individuals are faced with many challenges and forced to make many decisions. Aside from child custody matters, perhaps the most anxiety-producing and contentious divorce topic revolves around the division of marital assets. While California divorce laws dictate that marital assets be split equally between spouses, exactly what constitutes as being fair or equal is often disputed by both sides.

In cases where a couple has an existing prenuptial agreement, divorce matters can grow even more contentious and potentially complicated. This is particularity the case when one spouse takes steps to have a prenuptial agreement invalidated.

In past decades, prenuptial agreements were typically associated with the very wealthy. Today, married couples in all economic brackets are taking steps to protect assets brought to a marriage. When named in a prenuptial agreement, assets that an individual owned prior to a marriage, such as property or a home are typically returned to that individual. Some couples also include terms related to alimony or spousal support in a prenuptial agreement.

While a prenup is considered a legal contract, there are cases where a judge may choose to invalidate such a contract. For example, in cases where a spouse was pressured into signing an agreement mere weeks or even days before a wedding, a judge may consider that he or she was under duress or the victim of fraud. Additionally, in cases where a husband or wife would profit significantly more absent a prenuptial agreement, a judge may deem the agreement to be unfair and thus invalid.

In cases where one spouse significantly out earns an ex-spouse or a spouse has primary custody of shared children, alimony may be awarded. Even in cases where a prenuptial agreement exists that includes language related to alimony restrictions; an individual would be wise to discuss their situation with an attorney.

Source: The Huffington Post, “When a Prenup Gets Thrown Out,” Stann Givens, July 1, 2014