Pre-Nuptial & Post-Nuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement is a contract between betrotheds, which determines the terms if the pending marriage ends. The contract becomes effective at the time of marriage. A postnuptial agreement is very similar, except it is formed after the marriage. Usually, couples enter into these agreements with the intention of avoiding a bitter emotional and legal battle in the future. In some cases, the agreement itself can become the subject of debate in a divorce if one party has grounds to question its validity.
Creating an Agreement
Unlike a divorce settlement, a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement can usually be worked out easily, calmly, and fairly because the parties are in friendly negotiations. However, some people become complacent, because they do not expect the marriage to end. It is important to consider the agreement, and seek the counsel of an attorney, before you finalize anything. According to the precedent set by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Simeone v. Simeone, the agreement is valid and enforceable, regardless of whether the terms were read and understood, and regardless of whether they are fair and reasonable.
Challenging an Agreement
If you are in the midst of a divorce, where a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement has been signed, the terms will typically be enforced by the court. However, if you signed the agreement under deceptive terms, we may be able to invalidate it.
Full and fair financial disclosure is required of both parties at the time of the agreement. If the other party deceived you, using clear and convincing evidence to misrepresent his or her financial situation, the agreement may not be enforceable. It is important to note that the courts place some investigatory responsibility on the challenging party. You are expected to make an effort to verify claims made by the other party, unless sufficient fraudulent evidence was presented.
Whether you are making or breaking a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, the skills of your attorney can make a significant difference in your financial future. Jack A. Rounick is a highly regarded practitioner of family law, who has written numerous articles and books on the topic. Call 484-684-6055 and schedule an appointment to safeguard your future today.