Prenuptial agreements can be a useful tool regardless of wealth
Many people think of prenuptial agreements as something that the rich and famous need. And they are usually correct about that as evidenced by the ongoing case between former Dallas Cowboy Deion Sanders and his soon-to-be-ex wife.
In the Sanders case, the wife signed a prenuptial agreement over 12 years ago. She alleged that the document was signed under pressure and partially forged. The judge in the case ruled in October that she voluntarily signed the agreement and could not prove that it is invalid. According to the document, Ms. Sanders received a “signing bonus” of $100,000 when the agreement was executed and will received $1 million when the divorce is final.
In everyday cases without signing bonuses and million dollar payoffs, when the prenuptial agreement becomes an issue when the couple files for divorce, one party is trying to prove that the document is void or invalid. The other, of course, will want the court to enforce the terms of the agreement. Having an experienced family law attorney in Johnson County carefully draft the agreement when the couple is anticipating marriage will affect the court’s ruling. Without the help of an experienced family law attorney, the entire agreement or portions of it may not be upheld.
While the money and assets the parties bring into the marriage are most often the subject of a prenuptial agreement, other factors may be written into the document. Some of these may be stricken or modified depending on the circumstances at the time of the divorce. For example, a party generally cannot negotiate away a child support obligation in a prenuptial agreement. Child support is an obligation to the child and generally cannot be waived by the parents. Similarly, even when the prenuptial agreement states that one party agrees to no alimony should the marriage end, if that spouse becomes disabled during the marriage and cannot support himself or herself after the divorce, those terms may be stricken from the agreement.
Some prenuptial agreements have uncommon clauses. Since a prenuptial agreement is a contract, it can contain almost anything the parties agree to as long as there is no deception or coercion such as that claimed by Deion Sanders’ wife in their divorce. Prenuptial agreements have even stated that a party cannot gain weight above a certain amount or even change hair color. But generally a court will enforce any terms that are not illegal or unconscionable. That is where having an experienced family law attorney draw up an effective agreement that will hold up in court in Burleson, Texas or wherever the parties live.
If you have any questions about division of assets in divorce or need legal representation, please call us at 817-953-9656.