Immigrant Spouse Entitled To Alimony Despite Waiving The Right In A Prenuptial Agreement

Most people know that prenuptial agreements are a very good way of handling issues of property division and alimony that arise during divorce, by settling them before the marriage even takes place. Prenuptial agreements can ensure a less contentious battle over assets, at least negotiations full of very few surprises, in the event your marriage goes south.

In fact, the law favors the freedom of all Americans to contract and the enforceability of prenuptial agreements, absent a handful of rare exceptions. One of these exceptions is alive and well, as a recently divorced couple discovered.

In that case, the husband married a woman who was not a United States citizen in 2012. Prior to the marriage, the husband and wife executed a prenuptial agreement that stated the husband would never have to pay the wife alimony or spousal support in the event the couple divorced.

The couple also signed an I-864 Affidavit of Support before the marriage. An I-864 Affidavit is a federal document that affirms an immigrant to the United States will be able to cope financially after moving to America, and will not become a burden to the public. Significantly, those who sign I-864 Affidavits along with their immigrant spouses must adhere to those statements, apparently even if they later get divorced and there is a seemingly valid prenuptial agreement in place.

The court denied the husband’s demand to enforce the prenuptial agreement, finding that by signing the I-864 Affidavit, the former husband pledged under oath and to the government that he would not let his ex-wife become a public burden. Therefore, the husband was required to pay his wife spousal support.

Though prenuptial agreements can be an extremely useful tool for protecting assets and minimizing the drama that can come along with divorce, they must be drafted competently and effectively in order to be enforceable, and not in conflict with other laws or strong public policy. For this reason, you should always hire a knowledgeable family law attorney before signing and/or drafting a prenuptial agreement.

If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, want to enforce one or think yours is unenforceable, you should speak with a qualified family law attorney at the DiPietro Family Law Group. Our attorneys can review the facts of your specific situation and will fight for your rights and the outcome you desire. We have decades of experience representing clients in all types of family law issues and are here to help you!

Call us today to schedule a consultation at (703) 370-5555 or visit us online.

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