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Court says millionaire's prenup cannot be enforced due to fraud

Agreeing to sign a prenuptial agreement may not be a romantic event for Florida couples, but it may be a very wise decision in the long run.

A prenuptial agreement may help to ensure one's wealth in the event of a divorce, and it may also help couples to address current financial concerns or issues before getting married. Although prenuptial agreements are legal contracts that determine how finances and property will be addressed and handled during divorce, there are some circumstances in which these contracts may not be enforced during divorce proceedings.

A prenup may be broken when one spouse can prove that the agreement was signed under illegal conditions. In some cases, prenups may not be enforced due to filing errors or other mistakes. And in a recent court decision, a prenup may also not be upheld in court during divorce proceedings when a spouse can prove that he or she was "fraudulently induced" to sign a prenup.

The case was recently heard in an appellate court in New York. The case involved a woman who argued that the prenuptial agreement she had signed with her ex-husband was no longer valid because her ex-husband had made a verbal promise to tear up the legal document if the couple ever had children. But even after the couple had a third child together, the woman's husband refused to destroy the document. The woman argued that this put a strain on their relationship and marriage, and she eventually filed for a divorce.

The prenup stated that the woman would only be entitled to $25,000 for every year of marriage and nothing more if she ever divorced her millionaire husband. She argued, though, that this agreement was no longer valid since her husband had promised her the agreement would no longer exist when the couple had children. Last month, the case went before an appellate court and the court concluded that the prenup was no longer valid because the woman's husband had lied to her in order to get her to sign the agreement.

When drafting a prenuptial agreement and agreeing to sign a prenuptial agreement, both parties will want to make sure that their interests remain protected by the agreement and that the agreement is also drafted under legal circumstances. In order to avoid signing an agreement that may not be fair, accurate or lawful, individuals will want to make sure they consult an attorney who can guide them through the process of drafting and filing a sound agreement before saying "I do."

Source: ABC News, "Long Island woman wins 'groundbreaking' prenup battle," Joanna Suarez, March 11, 2013

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