A prenuptial agreement is a type of contract that two people sign before they are married. Under Indiana law, a prenuptial agreement can cover a fair number of issues, but its main purpose is to control the distribution of property should the marriage later end in divorce.
There are advantages to having a prenuptial agreement. One is that it helps ensure that the parties go into their marriage with realistic expectations. The process of putting together a prenuptial agreement allows the couple an opportunity to discuss their finances thoroughly before tying the knot. Should they later decide to divorce, the prenup may have already removed the property division aspect of the divorce proceedings.
Property division is often the most technically challenging and hotly debated aspect of many divorces. A prenuptial agreement decides many of those issues in advance, and can therefore save the parties from a lot of time, money and frustration.
A prenuptial agreement can also present disadvantages. What may have seemed like a good agreement at the time can look quite different in the event of a divorce — particularly in cases where the marriage lasted for many years, during which their accumulated wealth changed.
Is there any way to have a prenuptial agreement thrown out?
Reasons a court might invalidate a prenuptial agreement
- Was not executed voluntarily; or
- Was unconscionable at the time the agreement was executed
The first of these conditions means that the court might rule an agreement invalid if one party can show, for example, that they were coerced into signing it, that they didn’t have time to read it, or otherwise went into the agreement without being fully aware of what they were doing.
The second of these conditions means that the court may not enforce an agreement that is illegal or that violates the principles of Indiana law. Courts may decide not to enforce an agreement that they determine will lead to a grossly unfair result.
In either case, the party who is trying to invalidate the prenuptial agreement has to convince the court that the contract should not be enforced. This is a complicated legal argument that also is very fact-based. You should consult with an experienced family law attorney if you wish to discuss these issues.