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Beware: Court could take "Second Look" at your Prenuptial Agreement

Posted by Michael Lambert | Mar 15, 2024

In most instances, the validity of a prenuptial agreement will not be considered by a court until the time of divorce, which will likely be years after the agreement was signed by the parties.  It is common for parties to draft antenuptial agreements that allow each party to retain their premarital property and maintain their future earnings and assets as their own separate property that is not divisible in a divorce.  While these types of agreements are not automatically invalid, caution must be taken to ensure the terms of the agreement will not result in one party retaining all of the assets and leaving the other with little to nothing in the event of divorce.  To prevent such a lopsided result, Massachusetts' courts will take a “second look” at the prenuptial agreement to ascertain if the terms were “fair and reasonable” at the time it was signed and if they are “conscionable” at the time of divorce. 

In determining if the agreement was “fair and reasonable” at the time of marriage, the court will consider if the parties were represented by counsel and whether they fully and accurately disclosed their income, assets, and liabilities prior to signing the agreement.  Ultimately, the court's “fair and reasonable” analysis will focus on the probability that the terms of the agreement at the time of marriage would result in the deprivation of assets to one party such that they are left impoverished at the time of divorce. 

If the agreement was “fair and reasonable” at the time of marriage, the agreement may be unenforceable if the terms produce an “unconscionable” result at the time of divorce.   A prenuptial agreement is “unconscionable” where one party is left, “without sufficient property, maintenance, or appropriate employment to support” themselves.  Agreements that leave one side wealthy and the other poor with waivers of alimony are likely to be unenforceable.   

Make sure your prenuptial agreement is valid and that it complies with the applicable law in Massachusetts.  Contact Lambert Legal either online or directly at 781-754-6822 to schedule a Free Consultation.

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Michael Lambert

About Attorney Lambert Attorney Lambert is an experienced Massachusetts courtroom litigator and competent negotiator. Having logged significant time in the courtroom Attorney Lambert is a poised and confident advocate. Outside of court he has built a successful track record of negotiating favo...

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