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Divorce issues: Make sure prenups are binding

Couples in Iowa and all around the country may choose to develop prenuptial agreements for a variety of reasons. One partner may anticipate an inheritance in the future and wants to protect it in the event of a potential divorce. There may be children from a previous marriage and a spouse wants to protect their interests and avoid contention if the marriage fails. Regardless of the reasons for creating a prenup, a couple going through a divorce likely assumes that such an agreement would help them eliminate any questions or problems about property division. However, experts warn that there are instances when a prenuptial agreement may not be enforced.

Matrimonial lawyers stress the importance of making sure a prenup is a formal legal document. Whether a state follows community property or equitable distribution laws, like Iowa, the document must be properly written in order to supersede the laws. Courts may not enforce a prenup if it is discovered that one of the parties was forced to agree to it. Also, it is vital that both parties have read the agreement if it is to be valid.

A prenup may not be viewed as binding if someone has hidden or underreported assets or liabilities. If an agreement has included improper provisions, if may also be rejected. It is also imperative that both parties have independent legal counsel. A prenup can be thrown out if it places one party in dire financial straits or is unfair.

Prenuptial agreements can be extremely effective tools when an Iowa couple is going through a divorce. However, it is vital that the agreement be drawn up with the utmost attention given to the legal requirements and client's wishes. It would be wise to seek the services of a trusted divorce lawyer for assistance with this process before tying the knot. If a couple is already married, a knowledgeable attorney can help with the development of a post-nuptial agreement.

Source:, "How To 'Bust' Prenuptial Agreements", Russ Alan Prince, April 4, 2018

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