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Prenup voided after husband broke promise

Many family law attorneys here in Nevada and elsewhere can attest to the fact that it is very difficult to void a prenuptial agreement. In some cases it may be possible to render some of the terms of a prenup unenforceable, but it is very rare to have the contract thrown out entirely.

Yet, that is exactly what happened in a recent appeals court case. The case involved a woman who signed a prenuptial agreement that she had resisted for several months, agreeing only days before the wedding after her soon-to-be husband promised to rip it up once they had children. They went on to have three children together, but the prenuptial agreement was not voided or destroyed. The wife sought to have it thrown out by the court during their divorce proceeding because of the broken promise, and because the difference in potential spousal support amounts between the prenup and state family law standards was dramatic.

While this case does not come from a court that impacts Nevada law, courts do sometimes look to decisions from outside of the jurisdiction for guidance on difficult or novel cases. In this situation, the introduction of a way to void a prenuptial agreement because of this type of behavior is a major change in the way that prenups have been viewed in the past. Typically, the idea that someone was coerced into signing a prenup has only been an effective argument for voiding the contract if there was a threat of violence or similar extreme circumstance.

In this case, the woman argued not that the she was coerced, but rather that the promises made in advance of the wedding that were not fulfilled amounted to fraud in the formation of the contract.

Source: Associated Press, "NY court decision voiding prenup sparks legal row," March 12, 2013.

Information about prenuptial agreements in Nevada can be found on our Las Vegas family law site.

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