When you had fantasies about marriage, a prenup most likely did not feature in them. After all, aren’t you becoming one with the union? So what’s yours is mine and vice versa, right?
Well, some couples, despite undying love for each other, choose to sign prenuptial agreements or contracts. That is not to say that they foresee divorce any time soon. But, if it happens, as prenup lawyers would advise, it does not hurt to protect your financial interests.
Despite the benefits of prenups, it is interesting that not many couples sign them. In the US, only 15% report having prenups. That signifies a 12% increase from 2010. Yet, only 1 out of 10 adults supports prenups and only 35% of the unmarried say they would sign a one.
As married couples continue to live together, they may not see the need for a prenup. So, as a testament to their love, they decide to shred it. But, does that act mean the contract is no longer valid?
Well, Dr. Dre’s wife, Nicole Young, seemed to think so. If you keep up with celebrity news, you know what we are talking about. If not, a cursory internet search will expose you to this teachable story.
In court papers contesting the prenup agreement, she stated that she signed the document under duress. Further, the rap entrepreneur ripped up the contract after three years into their union as a sign of their love. Are these two reasons good enough to declare the prenup void? Let’s see what the law has to say.
Does Shredding A Prenup Make It Void?
Before we answer the question, it helps to know the process of developing a prenup. For the prenuptial agreement to be enforceable, the couples must take specific steps. They should both:-
- Have legal representation from prenup lawyers. The attorneys must have a good understanding of that specific area of law. They should also know the state-specific processes regarding prenups.
- Provide full disclosure of their financial position, including assets and debts
- Have enough time to review the contract. Please note that different states have different timelines. In California, for instance, you have seven days. In New Hampshire, you must sign it 30 days before the wedding.
- Be under no pressure to sign the document. Maybe Dr. Dre’s wife has a case here if she can prove duress.
- Let a judge examine the contract and declare it enforceable as per the creation date.
As you can see, there is a step-by-step process that the law requires that couples follow. That is why retaining the services of a professional prenup lawyer is essential. They will walk you through the stages and explain the importance of each step.
So What Does It All Mean?
Now, what if you both change your minds and decide to rip up or shred the contract? Well, you can bask in the special symbolism of what you have both done. Entrusting your financial wealth to each other may be a solid and admirable testament to your love.
But, in the eyes of the law, the contract very much remains valid. Do you want to know why? When signing the prenup, you received a copy as the couple. But, your lawyer and the court remained with copies of the same.
So, unless you discover a way to get into their systems and retrieve their copies, the document is still valid. Did Nicole Young’s lawyers not advise her of the same? This goes back to our point, and yes, we will keep reiterating it. Please hire a competent prenup attorney.
Remember, the law requires that you both have legal representation. If you don’t pick experts, they will not share such glaringly critical information with you. Now you find yourself in a courtroom fighting a losing battle.
The second point is to ensure the lawyer is fighting for your best interests. If you delve further into Dr. Dre vs. Nicole’s case, her legal counsel came from a recommendation of her husband’s legal team. Perhaps we can blame the total trust you give to someone you love.
But, her warning bells should have been ringing loud and clear at that point. She should have sought her own legal counsel and not depended on her husband’s team. Please note that we are not taking the position that there was any mischief on Dr. Dre’s part. But it doesn’t hurt to be a little world-savvy.
So How Can You Revoke or Amend a Prenuptial Agreement
Revoking a prenup requires that you go through an almost similar process to when you created the document. Both parties must draft and sign a new document stating their intention to revoke or amend the existing contract. Please note the use of the words’ both parties.’ There must be mutual consent for the changes to happen.
There are also exceptional cases when the courts can revoke the contract. These include:-
- Fraudulent agreements where one party undervalues or fails to disclose some of their assets
- Signing under duress, coercion, or when one party doesn’t have the total mental capacity to do so.
- Improper filing or drafting of the documents. The contract has to be in writing. Oral agreements are not permissible.
- Signing without legal counsel. Do note, though, that some states allow you to waive your right to legal representation. But, it must appear in the court documents you decided to do so.
- Where the terms and conditions are too much in favor of one party.
It is important to note that proving some of the cases above can be quite difficult. Take the case of coercion. Unless there was a credible witness to attest to the same, your word might not be good enough. As we promised above, you know where we are going with this. Please hire a competent prenup lawyer before putting your signature on any documents. Clearly, if push comes to shove, you will want an airtight case.
Does shredding a prenup make the contract void? The answer is no. What you are tearing up is a copy of the original document, which resides in the court files. To revoke the contract, you must follow the proper steps.
First, there must be a mutual agreement between you and your partner. Next, your legal counsels will draft a new contract stating your intention to revoke the prenup.
If you decide to sign the contract, ensure you have the right legal representation. When hiring the prenup lawyer, check their credentials and experience. It pays to have the right people in your corner.