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Voiding the prenuptial agreement

OlgaW007

Junior Member
#1
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Maryland
I am about to get married. I agreed to make a prenuptial agreement. Mother of my fiance convinced that if I am unemployed at the time when prenup was signed I can void it later and ask for alimony. Can anybody tell if that's true?
 


Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
#2
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Maryland
I am about to get married. I agreed to make a prenuptial agreement. Mother of my fiance convinced that if I am unemployed at the time when prenup was signed I can void it later and ask for alimony. Can anybody tell if that's true?
Your employment status at the time of signing the agreement has no bearing on the validity of the agreement.
 
#3
Here's the Maryland law on prenups

Maryland: Md. Code Ann., Est. & Trusts § 3-205 (West 2007):

Statute requires signed prenuptial agreement, otherwise silent.

§ 3-205.

The right of election of a surviving spouse may be waived before or after marriage by a written contract, agreement, or waiver signed by the party waiving the right of election. Unless it provides to the contrary, a waiver of "all rights" in the property or estate of a present or prospective spouse, or a complete property settlement entered into after or in anticipation of separation or divorce, is a waiver of any right to his family allowance as well as to his elective share by each spouse in the property of the spouse, his right to letters under § 5-104, and is an irrevocable renunciation of any benefit which would pass to him from the other by intestate succession, by statutory share, or by virtue of the provisions of a will executed before the waiver or property settlement.


I don't see anything in there providing an out for unemployment. And I can't ( in an admittedly quick search) find any case law saying that either.

Just because your are unemployed doesn't mean that you can't enter into a contract. There are some very rich people that have had very complex pre-nups that never worked a day in their lives.
 

HRZ

Senior Member
#4
Very unwise to get legal advice from your fiancé s mother ...highly likely wrong.....but you would be most unwise to execute any such agreement absent solid paid legal counsel well ahead of crunch time .

THere are many a good applications for a prenup ...but if the marriage hinges on doing things MILs way then I strongly suggest you run away from marriage with this person .....

( I lived thru somebody close getting a prenup unwrapped ...not fun or inexpensive )

Your fact pattern may differ ...

BTW as posted your oral committtment to make such an agreement includes that your attorney drafts one very supportive of your needs and you present it to your intended for his review !

And agreement to agree is not an agreement stronger than hot air.
 

latigo

Senior Member
#5
Here's the Maryland law on prenups

Maryland: Md. Code Ann., Est. & Trusts § 3-205 (West 2007):

Statute requires signed prenuptial agreement, otherwise silent.

§ 3-205.

The right of election of a surviving spouse may be waived before or after marriage by a written contract, agreement, or waiver signed by the party waiving the right of election. Unless it provides to the contrary, a waiver of "all rights" in the property or estate of a present or prospective spouse, or a complete property settlement entered into after or in anticipation of separation or divorce, is a waiver of any right to his family allowance as well as to his elective share by each spouse in the property of the spouse, his right to letters under § 5-104, and is an irrevocable renunciation of any benefit which would pass to him from the other by intestate succession, by statutory share, or by virtue of the provisions of a will executed before the waiver or property settlement.


I don't see anything in there providing an out for unemployment. And I can't ( in an admittedly quick search) find any case law saying that either.

Just because your are unemployed doesn't mean that you can't enter into a contract. There are some very rich people that have had very complex pre-nups that never worked a day in their lives.
Might it possibly occur to you that the subject matter of the Maryland Code to which you make reference deals exclusively with the issue of a surviving spouses elective rights to the estate of a deceased spouse and has nothing whatsoever to do with marital property rights - property rights that are central to a pre-nuptial agreement.

And that your cited code section covers but a single aspect of a pre-nuptial agreement; to-wit: a waiver of the elective share.

You "didn't see anything in their providing for an out for unemployment" as it may affect a surviving spouse's elective share? Geez! What a joke! Who do you think you are fooling with your pseudo legalese nonsense?
 

latigo

Senior Member
#6
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Maryland
I am about to get married. I agreed to make a prenuptial agreement. Mother of my fiance convinced that if I am unemployed at the time when prenup was signed I can void it later and ask for alimony. Can anybody tell if that's true?
Both your would be future mother-in-law and the wannabe lawyer, "payrollHRguy" have given you nothing but uneducated and misleading guess work. So, "beware of false knowledge. It is more dangerous than ignorance".

All I have to say on the subject is that any man expecting a pre-nuptial agreement to withstand a future challenge that does not insist that the bride-to-be have her attorney independently advise and counsel her as to its legal consequences is a damn fool and gets what he deserves! In your case I hope the fiancé does not act the part of a fool!
 
#7
Ok Latigo, Do you know of anything in Maryland or any other state's law that would somehow negate a prenup simply because one of the signers was unemployed at the time of marriage?
 

quincy

Senior Member
#8
Ok Latigo, Do you know of anything in Maryland or any other state's law that would somehow negate a prenup simply because one of the signers was unemployed at the time of marriage?
A pre-nuptial agreement is potentially voidable if it is too lopsided, as could be the case with a no-money spouse married to a monied spouse.

In addition to an agreement being voidable because the terms were unconscionable, if the agreement was improperly filed, was executed without legal representation for both parties, was signed under duress or there was not full disclosure of all assets by either or both parties, the agreement can be challenged and potentially voided.

This is contract law.
 
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#9
Quincy that wasn't the question. Of course there are times that a prenup or any contract could be voidable. The issue is can one be automatically voidable because one of the parties was unemployed at the time of the marriage.

Latigo is a big boy or girl and can respond for himself.
 

quincy

Senior Member
#10
Quincy that wasn't the question. Of course there are times that a prenup or any contract could be voidable. The issue is can one be automatically voidable because one of the parties was unemployed at the time of the marriage.

Latigo is a big boy or girl and can respond for himself.
You were looking at statutes, however, and the question is one of contract law.

The question was asking if the mother-in-law was correct in saying the prenuptial agreement was voidable and that alimony could be awarded. The answer to that is a qualified "yes."

Nowhere were the words "automatically voidable" mentioned.

Latigo is a "big boy" but he is apt to point out your flaws rather than answer your question. ;)
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
#11
The question was asking if the mother-in-law was correct in saying the prenuptial agreement was voidable and that alimony could be awarded. The answer to that is a qualified "yes."

Nowhere were the words "automatically voidable" mentioned.
I agree with PayrollHRGuy on this one.

Mother of my fiance convinced that if I am unemployed at the time when prenup was signed I can void it later and ask for alimony. Can anybody tell if that's true?
The OP was told that being unemployed means she "can" (not "may request it to be") void the prenup at a later point and wants to know if that's true. It is not true. Being unemployed at the time of signing doesn't cause the prenup to be void or voidable (in and of itself.) Yes there are other reasons it may be voided, and that point is not being argued, however, the sole fact that the signer is unemployed at the time of signing isn't a reason for the prenup to be void(ed)(able).

ETA: I fully agree with your final sentence. :)
 
#12
I also wrote that
And I can't ( in an admittedly quick search) find any case law saying that either.

Just because your are unemployed doesn't mean that you can't enter into a contract. There are some very rich people that have had very complex pre-nups that never worked a day in their lives.
The OP wrote
Mother of my fiance convinced that if I am unemployed at the time when prenup was signed I can void it later and ask for alimony.
The answer to that is no the OP can't void it just because he was unemployed at the time the prenup was signed.

If the only answer we can give is "You need to talk to a lawyer" this site becomes useless pretty damn quick.
 

quincy

Senior Member
#13
I also wrote that

The OP wrote

The answer to that is no the OP can't void it just because he was unemployed at the time the prenup was signed.

If the only answer we can give is "You need to talk to a lawyer" this site becomes useless pretty damn quick.
First, Olga will want to speak to a lawyer, if she wishes to have her best interests represented, prior to signing any agreement. The advice to seek out an attorney in one's own jurisdiction will always be the best advice anyone can give on this site.

I see how both of you are reading the original post.
 

HRZ

Senior Member
#14
The OP needs to reconsider if she wants to go any road at all with this particular marriage and a 3d party for a back seat driver.

OP the question of if a contract can be unwrapped is not the question you want to be asking . ( As a layman I see no current grounds to successfully unwrap it later )

Of course OP, using counsel of your choice, you could draft a contract for his consideration but I seriously doubt that is what your future mother in law has in mind .

OP?.if he has perhaps prior children and assets then he may have or somebody gave him concerns about gold diggers
 

quincy

Senior Member
#15
The OP needs to reconsider if she wants to go any road at all with this particular marriage and a 3d party for a back seat driver.

OP the question of if a contract can be unwrapped is not the question you want to be asking . ( As a layman I see no current grounds to successfully unwrap it later )

Of course OP, using counsel of your choice, you could draft a contract for his consideration but I seriously doubt that is what your future mother in law has in mind .

OP?.if he has perhaps prior children and assets then he may have or somebody gave him concerns about gold diggers
As to what is bolded above: Not having independent counsel can make a prenuptial contract voidable (and in some states - not sure of Maryland - having independent counsel is a requirement for a prenup to be valid).

That said, I agree that no one should ever sign a contract with the idea that it can be voided later. If the terms are not clearly understood or if one does not agree fully with all of the terms, one should never sign any contract.
 
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