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Law Office of Gary R. Swavely, Jr. Blog

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Marital Agreements and Sham Agreements

Q: What happens to a marital agreement if the marriage is invalid?

Most people would not be shocked to hear that a prenuptial agreement was entered into between a wealthy young heiress and her high-profile hairdresser husband-to-be. There would be no surprises that the father of the bride would want to protect his and his daughter’s financial legacy in the event of a future break up. After all, this is how prenuptial agreements have been played out in Hollywood for decades.

Reading, Pennsylvania marital agreement attorneys know that prenuptial agreements are not always drafted under such dramatic circumstances.

What is a marital agreement?

Marital agreements can be entered into before or after a marriage.

A prenuptial agreement—also called a prenup, for short-- is essentially a contract between two parties who are about to get married. In it, they decide what will become of their marital property (and what will remain separate property) in the event they get divorced. A postnuptial agreement is the same kind of agreement but it’s entered into after the wedding.

The reality is that prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are fairly common among regular folks of ordinary means -- especially in cases of second (or even third) marriages, where spouses may want to keep their respective assets separate and want to provide for children or grandchildren from prior marriages in the event this new marriage ends in divorce.

So, while wealthy people having prenups may not be newsworthy, allegations that the marriage that followed one was a fraudulent sham certainly will raise a few eyebrows. Allegedly, three years after a prenup was reluctantly signed shortly before a four-day million-dollar dream wedding in Utah, the hairdresser husband is reportedly suing his heiress bride for allegedly “tricking him and the officiant in an attempt to avoid a legal ball and chain”. He claims she just wanted the attention of a spectacular wedding with “no lasting consequences under the law”. He alleges his wife, in an effort to render the marriage invalid, purposely told their officiant – a yoga instructor friend who is not ordained in Utah that she did not have to become ordained to preside over the ceremony because the couple would be “officially married” in New York before the Utah affair.

Now the couple is allegedly seeking to have the invalid Utah wedding legally recognized – so they can get divorced. The groom is reportedly also seeking to have the prenup declared invalid and is pursuing a lawsuit in New York for fraud seeking monetary compensation for the damages he allegedly suffered as a result.

Contact the Law Office of Gary R. Swavely, Jr. Today

If you need assistance with a prenup or postnuptial agreement, a divorce, or any other family law matter, the Law Office of Gary R. Swavely, Jr. can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our office in Reading, Pennsylvania, we help couples throughout Berks and the surrounding counties in all aspects of family law.


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