Keeping Your Family Strong--Even Through Divorce

Why You Need A Divorce Lawyer Despite The Existence Of A Prenup

by Kristen Wright

A prenuptial agreement (prenup) comes in handy if you are divorcing. For example, you will find that the prenup has handled some of the issues for you, such as the distinction between marital and separate assets, as well as their division. Despite a prenup, however, you still need a lawyer's help to help you with the divorce because:

Prenups Don't Handle Everything

You still need a law firm's help because there are things that your prenup hasn't handled. This is partly because, legally speaking, there are things that you cannot include in a prenup. For example, you cannot handle the issue of child custody or support in a prenup; the court has the last decision on this. In addition, it might also be that you didn't think of everything when executing the prenup. You will need a lawyer to handle all of these things.

The Prenup May Be Invalid

You may also need a lawyer to evaluate the validity of the prenup, especially if you didn't involve one when crafting it. For example, the prenup may be invalid if you didn't sign it of your own free will, but was forced into it. A prenup may also be invalid if it contains fraudulent clauses (for example, if your partner did not disclose all their assets) or if it is too one-sided. The lawyer can help you evaluate the prenup to determine whether it is enforceable.

The Prenup May Contain Invalid Clauses

In some cases, a prenup may be valid but contain invalid clauses. In such cases, only the invalid clauses are struck out and the rest of the clauses are enforced. A divorce lawyer can evaluate your prenup agreement and help you confirm which clauses are valid and which ones can be contested. For example, there are states where you can't give up your right to alimony in a prenup. Therefore, if you are in such a state and you signed an agreement where you gave up your right to alimony, your lawyer will identify such clauses and strike them out.

The Lawyer Can Help Enforce the Prenup

Lastly, you may also need a lawyer's help to enforce the prenup. This is especially true if your partner is denying the existence of the agreement, is contesting the agreement or is just refusing to honor their part in the agreement. In such a case, you may need the court's help to have the agreement enforced, and this may require a lawyer's help.