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Is it possible to break a prenup?

In recent months, we have written several posts on our Las Vegas family law blog about the benefits and requirements of prenuptial agreements that dictate how a couple will divide their assets and handle other common family law issues should their marriage end in divorce. For example, some of our recent blog posts detail the benefits of prenuptial agreements and discuss how postnuptial agreements are on the rise in Nevada and throughout the United States.

With the increasing prominence of prenuptial and similar marital contracts, there is bound to be a concurrent increase in situations in which those agreements need to be revised or thrown out entirely. But given the nature and purpose of prenups - to provide married couples with a framework and plan for the division of their property and the revision of other family law issues in the event of divorce - is it even possible for couples to change them?

Generally, the answer to that question is yes. Prenuptial agreements are, at their essence, mere contracts between two parties. So if those parties wish to alter or break their contract, they usually can.

But if one spouse alone desires such a change and the other spouse wants to leave the prenup as is, the process will probably be more difficult. The spouse that wants to revise the agreement will have to show that it is fraudulent or wholly inaccurate, that it contains unconscionable provisions or that he or she was coerced to sign it.

However, most family courts require a significant showing of proof of harm in order to revise or eliminate prenups based on these allegations, which can make doing so difficult or impossible in many cases. A skilled family law attorney can help spouses determine whether theirs is a claim that is likely to succeed.

Source: Reuters, "Breaking up is hard to do, breaking prenup is harder," Geoff Williams, Oct. 5, 2012

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