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Court tosses prenuptial agreement wife could not understand

People who plan to marry in Colorado have many things to do in preparation. While most people think of wedding venues and gift registries, it is equally important to consider a prenuptial agreement. Such a document can help ensure each person's understanding of the other's finances and help ease the divorce process if their marriage should eventually end. However, each person must understand what he or she is signing or it may not hold up in court at a later date. For example, one woman claims that her estranged husband misled her about the information included in an agreement written entirely in German.

Before the couple married, they visited his parents who live in another country. At that time, she says his parents presented her with a document written in German, which she does not understand. Both the parents and her soon-to-be husband assured her that it only protected the parents' property in the event of a divorce. Her husband's father has since testified in court that he did not have the document translated and was not concerned about whether she could understand it. Believing her fiance's assurances regarding the document and his parents' property, as most people would, she signed it.

When the woman filed for divorce in 2012, she quickly realized that, by signing the document, she had actually relinquished her rights to her husband's estate, reportedly worth millions. However, it was recently ruled that the woman's understanding of the agreement was essential, and it was invalidated. A court will decide to what portion of the man's estate the woman will be entitled.

A properly drafted prenuptial agreement has a very important role in a couple's marriage planning. However, the intent behind such documents is not to trick one party, but rather to allow both people to go into a relationship with an understanding of their financial situation and with assurances concerning how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce. For those interested in creating such a document in Colorado, an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that it is fair and enforceable.

Source: New York Post, "Judge says 'Nein!' to prenup because wife can't read German", Julia Marsh, Jan. 30, 2015

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