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Appeals Court In Another State Throws Out A Prenuptial Agreement

People in Louisiana choose to sign a prenuptial agreement for a variety of reasons. However, such an agreement can be thrown out of court if it is determined that one of the parties is being treated unfairly or was taken advantage of in some way. To be upheld, it is best to ensure that both sides fully understand the terms of the agreement and each have separate attorneys review the documents. One prenuptial agreement was recently invalidated by an out-of-state court, with the judges calling the agreement “unconscionable.”

The couple at the center of the case began their relationship in 1994, when the wife was only 14, and her soon-to-be husband was 29. She soon become pregnant and they married — some speculate the marriage was for his benefit to help avoid criminal prosecution for his relationship with the teenager. However, before they said their vows, they signed a prenuptial agreement. He had his attorney review the agreement that stipulated that they would each keep their own property if they divorced. Reports indicate that the pregnant teenager was barely able to read when she signed the agreement.

The teenager dropped out of school and was unable to obtain her GED while she cared for the couple’s children. When they divorced in 2013, a judge upheld the agreement, declaring, in part, that she had waited too long to challenge it. However, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the prenup unconscionable and reversed the ruling of the lower court. The original judge was ordered to reconsider the distribution of assets without consideration of the prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement can be an important planning tool for people in Louisiana committed to spending the rest of their life with one another. However, an agreement that is deemed unjust to one party will not likely be upheld in court. An experienced family law attorney can help draft and review a suitable agreement to ensure that all items are fair and sound enough to withstand a challenge in court as well as to advise clients regarding unfair stipulations.

Source: thestarpress.com, “W/R: Pregnant teen’s pre-nup ‘unconscionable’“, Douglas Walker and Keith Roysdon, March 7, 2015

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