In a Season 8 episode of the sitcom ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ audiences laughed at the ridiculous prenuptial agreement that the character Barney, played by Neil Patrick Harris, asked his fiancé to sign. But while writers for the show purposefully poked fun at what can be outlined in a premarital agreement, readers of our blog know that such contracts do contain specifics about how a spouse should conduct themselves in a marriage and what a spouse gets after a divorce. And when conflicts surrounding a prenup come up in a divorce, the document becomes anything but a laughing a matter.
Residents here in Florida can see this playing out right now in Australia where a wealthy businessman is requesting that the family law courts overturn his $3.2 million prenuptial agreement. The reason? The man claims that his wife “fraudulently or unconscionably lure[d] him into signing it” and that the document should no longer be considered legally binding. But the courts so far disagree with the man’s request, which he intends on taking to higher courts in the near future.
Although Australia has different laws governing prenuptial agreements than here in the United States, Florida does have similar statutes that dictate whether a prenuptial agreement can be revoked or not. Just like in the case above, Florida statutes allow a premarital agreement to be amended, revoked or abandoned if the agreement was a product of fraud or if it is determined that the contract had been unconscionable at the time of signing. But just like here in Florida, the other party must prove this in the family law courts, which can be incredibly difficult to do without proper legal representation.
If there’s anything this case highlights it’s the importance of having a skilled attorney look over a prenuptial agreement before signing. In the end, this can prevent you or your spouse from encountering legal problems later on if you do decide to divorce.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, “Husband in bid to stop $3.2m prenup,” Louise Hall, Jan. 5, 2014