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When can a prenuptial agreement be struck down in NY?

by | Feb 25, 2016 | Property And Asset Division

Last time, we looked briefly at a dispute between hedge fund manager Jacob Gottlieb and his wife concerning the validity of the couple’s 2007 prenuptial agreement. As we noted, Gottlieb’s wife lost her bid to have the agreement struck down on terms of fraud and coercion. She had claimed that he failed to fully disclose his assets and that she was pressured into signing the agreement. The court found that the facts didn’t support her claims.

Fraud and coercion or duress are not the only grounds on which a prenuptial agreement may be struck down. Prenuptial agreements may also be declared invalid in cases where the terms of the agreement are deemed unfair and inequitable, or sometimes in cases where both parties did not have separate attorneys to represent them in negotiating the prenuptial agreement. 

Another ground on which a prenuptial agreement may be struck down is when it broaches the issues of child support and/or child custody visitation. Legally, these issues must be addressed with respect to the circumstances at the time of the divorce, so prenuptial agreements cannot definitively set forth terms on these matters.

A prenuptial agreement may be set aside if it was not executed correctly. The formalities for executing a prenuptial agreement are the same as those required for recording a property deed in the state of New York.

Litigating disputes concerning prenup validity can be time-consuming and costly, and it really is in the best interests of couples who want to enter into such an agreement to work with experienced legal counsel to ensure their rights are protected and that things are done correctly. In a future post, we’ll take a closer look at what can be addressed in prenuptial agreements and how they can help a couple take greater control of their property.