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Challenging a pre-nup in court can be complicated

In every divorce there are many complex divorce legal issues that must be addressed before the legal bond is finally terminated. In an effort to expedite the divorce process many high-asset couples choose to enter into prenuptial agreement prior to marriage. A prenuptial agreement establishes each party's financial rights in the event of divorce. In some cases, however, a prenuptial agreement can be thrown out if it is deemed invalid.

If not well versed, Michigan readers are still probably familiar with the ongoing divorce between football legend Deion Sanders and his wife Pilar Sanders. In yet one more chapter of the couples divorce saga, Pilar Sanders attempted to have the couple's prenuptial agreement thrown out. Pilar Sanders' attorney claimed that the agreement was partially forged. The arbitrator, however, upheld the agreement, confirming both parties signed the document.

While it may seem like a strange move, there are actually a number reasons that a court may deem a prenuptial agreement invalid. In fact, that is exactly what happened in a recent New York case, when an appellate court found that the husband had fraudulently induced his wife-to-be into signing their prenuptial agreement. Fraudulent inducement refers to an act of deception that is used trick someone else to act against his or her own best interests.

Fraud, however, is not the only reason a court will throw out a prenuptial agreement. Other reasons include a failure to reduce the agreement to writing, the failure of both parties to sign the agreement or even false information. While any one of these acts can threaten the integrity of the agreement, the Sanders case proves that a properly drafted pre-nup is as good as gold. It also shows how important it is to have it drafted by competent counsel.

Source: NBC, "Prenuptial Agreement Will Stand in Sanders Divorce," March 20, 2013

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