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  • John C. Whitbeck, Jr.


    John C. Whitbeck, Jr. practices in the following areas of law: Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Mediation, Arbitration, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Criminal Law, DUI/DWI, Reckless Driving, All Felonies, All Misdemeanors, Juvenile Crimes, Mental Health Law, Civil and Business Litigation, Construction Litigation, Education Law, Election Law, Debt Collection, Consumer and Lemon Law.

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  • Ruth M. McElroy


    Ruth M. McElroy practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Pre and Post Marital Agreements, Domestic Violence, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Juvenile Crimes, Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes, Traffic Offenses, Debt Collection, Civil and Business Litigation. She serves the Virginia Court system as a Guardian ad litem.

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  • Jennifer D. Cisneros


    Jennifer D. Cisneros practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Crimes, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Estate Planning, Wills and Probate, Trusts, Civil and Business Litigation and Debt Collection.

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7 Reasons a Virginia Court Could Find Your Prenuptial Agreement Invalid


If you go through the time and expense of drafting a prenuptial agreement, you want it to stand up in court. Drafting one yourself is risky because a court can declare the entire agreement invalid if you have invalid clauses or your soon to be ex-spouse has grounds to challenge it. It’s recommended that you have an experienced Virginia family law attorney draft your prenuptial agreement and the other party should have it reviewed with their own independent counsel, which will also keep your spouse from claiming he or she did not understand it or read it.

Here are 7 reasons why a Virginia court might throw your prenuptial agreement out.

  1. Information Not Disclosed or Fraudulent Information

Both parties are required to disclose all of their financial information, including assets, income, and liabilities. If one party attempts to hide assets, fails to disclose accounts, etc., the judge is likely to throw the agreement out and declare it invalid. Any other material misrepresentations or false information is grounds that could see it declared invalid as well.

  1. Prenuptial Agreement is Not in Writing

Prenuptial agreements must be in writing. Oral agreements will not stand up in court.

  1. Contains Invalid Provisions

You have quite a bit of latitude when it comes to drafting prenuptial agreements. They can cover more than just financial aspects and discuss other obligations. In the event one of these provisions violates the law, the judge could opt to strike the illegal clauses or declare the entire agreement invalid.

  1. Signed Under Duress or Without Mental Capacity

While extremely difficult to prove, a spouse may claim they were coerced or forced into signing the prenuptial agreement. You have the right to review the document, including have an attorney review it with you. Your soon-to-be ex cannot hand you the agreement and a pen and demand you sign immediately.

If the spouse was drinking or under the influence of narcotics, he or she can claim mental incapacity and they did not understand it at the time. If one spouse was very ill and incoherent, they could argue mental incapacity as well.

  1. Agreement Not Signed

In order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid, it must be signed by both parties. It cannot be signed by only one party, otherwise the judge will declare it invalid.

  1. Wedding Did Not Take Place

If the wedding did not take place, a prenuptial agreement will be invalid as it needs the act of marriage to make it effective.

  1. Agreement is Unconscionable

Agreements that are very lopsided and completely unfair to the other spouse are not likely to stand up in court. You cannot draft an agreement that would put one party in severe financial hardship if there was a divorce. These are known as unconscionable contracts and they are almost always found invalid.

Retaining a Virginia Family Law Attorney 

Involving a Virginia prenuptial agreement attorney can play an important role in determining whether yours stands up in during a divorce. Contact the team at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC at 703-997-4982. Let one of our skilled family law attorneys help you draft your marital agreement or review the one your spouse prepared.

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