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My wife and I entered into a pre-nuptial when we got married in my home country. Is that pre-nuptial valid in the US?

Orange, NJ |

My wife and I entered into a pre-nuptial and married in India before we become Permanent Residents of the US. We are now heading for a divorce and I would like to know if (a) can either one of us approach the US court for divorce and (b) will the pre-nuptial entered in India be valid in the US, as after all that was the basis of our marriage. Thanks.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

If you have been residing in this state for at least one year prior to filing your complaint for divorce, you will have the right to get divorced here even if you are not a permanent resident by technical terms. We would want to have the prenupt translated so that the US court would have the ability to examine it in detail. I have had many cases where prenupts in other countries were upheld in the US. Naturally, the terms of thee prenupt will have to be conscionable and other factors will have to be met. For a free consultation to talk about your matter specifically, call 973-520-8822 and one of our family lawyers (that's all we do) can look at your documents and discuss how to proceed.

The information provided is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. This information is designed for general information only. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your specific situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and emails. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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Asker

Posted

Thanks for the detailed response. My concern is exactly what you have stated in your first sentence. In NJ even though you may not even be a permanent resident or Citizen you can choose to get divorced here if certain residency requirements are met. Further more a valid pre-nup once again gets subject to reevaluation under the US laws and standards even though the parties entered the agreement under a completely different jurisdiction with completely different rules and regulations. Hence the combinations of the above creates a wrong incentive to get married under a pre-nup and then file for divorce under a new jurisdiction wherein the pre-nup is valid only to the extent that the new jurisdiction finds it fair and reasonable under a separate set of standards and rules. This also creates a way for people to falsely cheat innocent people settled in the US and use it as a way to enter and migrate to the US. Its very disturbing that such practice is allowed in the US.

Asker

Posted

Sorry one more point - the pre-nups in India are very much in English so not sure what you meant by having the pre-nup translated.

Bari Zell Weinberger

Bari Zell Weinberger

Posted

If it is in English then you don't have to worry about any translation. If they are in Hindu for instance- there would need to be a translation.

Posted

The pre-nuptial will certainly be evidence. If the parties are not in agreement as to it's validity, the court will hear testimony as to the circumstances surrounding the creation of the agreement, evaluate the agreement for fairness, validity, relevance, etc and make a final decision after hearing all the facts.

Please be advised my answers to questions does not constitute legal advise and you should not rely on it, due to the fact that we have never met, I have not been aprised of the facts in you case nor have I reviewed any documents.

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Asker

Posted

Thanks for the response. I am still unclear on which court will make that evaluation? Do you mean the court in the US? Pre-nups in India are reviewed for the circumstances around the pre-nuptial including all the criteria you mentioned above (fairness, validity, relevance) even before the pre-nup can be registered and considered a valid document. So does it mean that a person can enter into a valid pre-nup in one jurisdiction and then seek divorce in another jurisdiction reducing the pre-nup to just "evidence" versus a valid legal enforceable document?

Posted

Generally, when a document is executed in compliance with the law in the jurisdiction it was executed in, it will be recognized in New Jersey. But pre-nuptial agreements in NJ can easily be attacked if the terms of the agreement are unconscionable - meaning so unfair that the court will not enforce the terms. This is especially true if the economic terms of the agreement would place one spouse into poverty or have a significant detriment to children of the marriage. You should see an experienced family lawyer to review the agreement with you.

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