Prenuptial agreements, often seen as a safety net for both parties entering marriage, provide a clear framework for asset division in the event of a divorce. However, there may be circumstances in which a spouse wishes to challenge the validity of a prenuptial agreement during a divorce.
This article outlines some of the reasons that might lead someone to fight a prenuptial agreement during their divorce.
The prenuptial agreement lacks proper execution
A spouse may challenge a prenuptial agreement if it lacks proper execution. In West Virginia, both parties must sign the prenuptial agreement voluntarily, and it must be in writing. If a party did not willingly sign the agreement or if the agreement is not in writing, a spouse can contest its validity.
Existence of fraud or misrepresentation
If a spouse can prove that the other party committed fraud or misrepresented their assets during the creation of the prenuptial agreement, they may have grounds to fight the agreement. This could involve hiding assets or lying about their value.
The agreement is unconscionable
A prenuptial agreement may be unconscionable, or extremely unfair, to one party. For example, if the agreement leaves one spouse in a dire financial situation while the other retains the majority of the assets, a court may deem the agreement unconscionable.
Lack of independent counsel
West Virginia law recommends that each party should have their own independent counsel when drafting and signing a prenuptial agreement. If a spouse did not have the opportunity to consult with independent counsel, they might argue that they did not fully understand the terms of the agreement.
Challenging a prenuptial agreement during a divorce can be a complex process. However, understanding West Virginia law and when individuals can contest the agreement can help make a stressful time much easier to manage.