How wording can affect prenups

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2020 | Prenuptial Agreements |

When couples divorce, prenuptial agreements help to make the process a lot easier. Deciding on who gets what at the start of the marriage can lead to more peaceful property division at the end of it. However, there are also instances where prenuptial agreements become a point of contention in the divorce process.

NBC News points out that if not written correctly, prenups are not always solid and courts can rule to overturn them or interpret particular wording to suit one party over another. This tends to become possible if both parties do not pay keen attention to all the provisions in the document and use what the court might consider “ambiguous” language.

The danger of “a” versus “the”

Forbes explains how the wrong word could create complexities. In one particular case, a couple remained married for 10 years. During that time, the wife filed for divorce twice. The first time, the couple had progressed seven years into the marriage and the wife voluntarily dismissed the petition. She then filed again at 10 years and ultimately dissolved the marriage.

The prenuptial agreement mentioned that the husband would pay the wife based on the number of years of marriage when either party filed “a” petition to dissolve the marriage. If the court used the first petition as a reference point, the wife only became entitled to $2.7 million, but at 10 years, she became entitled to $4.2 million.

Choosing words carefully

When writing any legal contract, it is important to choose the wording carefully. Many couples take a more flippant approach to prenuptial agreements, believing that neither party would fight for anything in the end. However, economic situations can change, as can either party’s feelings toward the other. At this point, either person might begin to look for loopholes in the prenuptial agreement.