Prenuptial agreements may be nullified or declared void in some situations. Specific clauses could also be voided if they are unconscionable or forbidden by law.
For example, a prenup can’t decide on issues of child support or child custody. No agreement can waive a child’s right to support from the parents, and a court must decide or approve of a custody arrangement based on the child’s best interests.
Challenging a Prenup
If you want to challenge a portion or all of your prenup, have a divorce attorney review the agreement. Your attorney will also need to ask you some questions about your relationship and the circumstances surrounding the prenup, such as:
- Before signing the prenup, how much did you know about your partner’s finances?
- When did you sign the prenup?
- Were you allowed to review the agreement or have an attorney look at it?
- Has your financial situation or your spouse’s financial situation changed since signing the prenup?
Prenups are contracts that will generally be enforced, but there are several ways to challenge their validity. You would ideally want an attorney to closely scrutinize your prenup before you begin the process of divorce or separation.
Contesting a Prenuptial Agreement in North Carolina
Although a prenuptial agreement is legally binding, it can sometimes be challenged in a North Carolina court. A skilled family law attorney will go over your prenup with a fine-tooth comb to find potential unconscionable or illegal clauses in the document. If such clauses exist, you may have grounds to nullify the agreement.
What Terms Can Be Included in a Prenup?
A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding agreement that details what rights and obligations each member of the couple has if their marriage ends in divorce. Under North Carolina law, couples can include the following items in their prenuptial agreement:
- The right to separate your property
- How the property is to be divided in the event of separation
- How the property is to be divided if one spouse passes away
- How much in spousal support (alimony) each partner will pay upon separation
- Whether or not a spouse is entitled to benefit from a life insurance policy
- Estate planning matters
That being said, several things cannot be included in a prenup. Prenups cannot determine custody, child support, or nearly any matter involving children. These matters must be settled amicably between parents following a divorce or in family court.
When Can an Individual Contest a Prenup in North Carolina?
Your ability to contest a prenup will largely depend on certain factors at play when the document was signed. If one partner was coerced into signing the agreement or did not have a complete picture of the terms, the agreement might be invalid. You may have grounds to contest your prenup under the following circumstances:
- The terms of the prenup violate North Carolina law: If the prenup contains any details about child custody or a lifestyle clause that outlines illegal activity, the document will likely not be upheld by the court.
- You felt pressured to sign the agreement: If your partner tried to force you to sign the prenup, it might be invalid. Some partners resort to violent or financial threats to get what they want.
- Unfair provisions or clauses: The provisions in a prenuptial agreement must be fair to both parties. If one partner is heavily favored in the prenup or puts one spouse at a significant disadvantage, you may have grounds to contest the document.
- The couple did not fully disclose their assets or debts: Since prenups determine how to split assets and how much alimony should be paid to the dependent partner, it is crucial that couples completely disclose their debts and assets. If one partner fails to do so, they could be violating the other’s rights.
The highly qualified attorneys at King Law know the ins and outs of North Carolina law and can help you determine your next steps for challenging your prenup. Your lawyer will get to know you and your case personally so that they can provide you with the best legal advice moving forward.
Does Cheating Void a Prenup in North Carolina?
Whether or not infidelity could void a prenup agreement depends on the terms agreed upon in the contract. Under North Carolina law, the couple can reach an agreement in their prenup about the responsibilities that each member needs to fulfill to uphold the agreement. In some cases, couples specify that cheating could void the prenup. This is known as an infidelity clause.
What Is Considered Cheating?
Cheating can be challenging to define because different people have different perceptions of what cheating entails. While many people can agree that extramarital sexual activity is cheating, others could have a broader definition. Some people may believe that cheating entails any of the following behaviors:
- Messaging strangers online
- Exchanging personal or sexual photos with someone outside of the marriage
- Engaging in an emotional affair with a close friend
- Going on dates with a person outside of the marriage
- Kissing, hugging, or touching a person other than their spouse
Since the definition of cheating is subjective, it can be challenging to agree upon a set definition with your spouse. Cheating is unlikely to void the document unless a specific definition is outlined in the prenup.
Is It Possible to Prove Your Spouse Was Unfaithful?
It may be possible to prove that your spouse violated the prenup by cheating, but it can be highly challenging. You may be able to show the court screenshots of messages between your spouse and a person outside of your marriage. However, unless messaging others is defined explicitly in the prenup as a violation, it may not be enough to prove cheating. Other evidence, such as hotel receipts, may be painful and concrete evidence to you but may be seen as nothing more than receipts in a court of law. In short, proving cheating is an uphill battle at best. In many cases, it may be your word against your spouse.
The Limitations of Lifestyle Clauses
Infidelity and other lifestyle clauses can negatively impact your marriage before it even begins. Wanting to include provisions for cheating in your prenup may sow seeds of distrust in your relationship. If neither partner has a history of cheating, the clause may not even make the final document. While an infidelity clause is a popular lifestyle clause, many others pose similar issues. Your spouse may even want to include restrictions on specific activities, foods, or weight gain. Conversely, they may request a clause about how often the living space is to be cleaned or how often the couple is to engage in sexual activity.
All lifestyle clauses can be extremely challenging to prove and may not be fair to one of the partners in the agreement. If the lifestyle clause in question affects one partner far more than the other, the agreement could be considered unconscionable. If specific clauses of the prenup are unconscionable, the clauses or the entire agreement may be void. If you are unsure if you have grounds to contest your prenup, an experienced family lawyer can review your options and advise you on the best path moving forward.
Contact an Experienced Family Lawyer in North Carolina Today
King Law Offices is a full-service law firm with an outstanding team of professionals who work diligently, creatively, and compassionately on behalf of our clients each day. We serve the Upstate of South Carolina and Western North Carolina. Call (888) 748-KING (5464) today or reach out online to set up a consultation with one of our dedicated family law attorneys.