Can a prenup be unenforceable?

Prenups are common contractual relationships between those seeking to get married. Prenuptial agreements outline the separation of assets and the amount of support an individual receives if the couple separates through a divorce or if one spouse dies.

Under Pennsylvania law, prenups are binding agreements when it comes to alimony, spousal support and equitable distribution. There are times when the agreements are not binding, particularly in the area of child support.

Challenging a prenup

There is a difference between a voided prenup and an agreement deemed not enforceable. Some agreements contain a sunset clause, which allows the agreement to expire once the marriage reaches a certain time threshold. Couples often use this kind of clause to instill a deeper sense of trust and commitment between parties along with an expectation of long and happy marriage.

The court could deem a prenup unenforceable if there is clear and convincing evidence that either party did not voluntarily engage in the execution of the agreement. However, the burden of proof rests with the party that is alleging the unenforceability of the prenup.

Determining unenforceability

Pennsylvania law grants several factors important status in determining the validity of a prenup. If one of the parties felt forced to enter into the agreement, an argument of duress, fraud or coercion could help establish that participation was not voluntary. A party could also use a lack of reasonable and fair disclosure of assets or finances to challenge the prenup.

A lack of honesty and transparency in disclosure is one reason for fighting a prenup. A challenge to validity can also come from a lack of willing participation.


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