Question: I need to know if my prenup is enforceable. Before I got married I disclosed almost all of my assets to my wife. I told her just about everything I own; she knew about 99% of what I had. But I never disclosed a piece of property in Texas because I didn't think it had any value and I bought it for a small sum. But now that's changed.
I just got an offer for the property for a lot of money. There's oil on the property, I was told. Now an oil company wants to buy it from me to explore for crude. I know oil is not selling for what it used to a year ago, but they're still offering me a ton of money for the right to drill on it. They say there's a lot down there.
I need to know how this oversight is going to affect my prenuptial agreement with my wife. As I said, I thought the land was basically worthless and I pretty much forgot about it. But now that it has oil under it, it's worth real money. Now I'm worried about getting divorced.
K.L. in Milton, GA
Answer: The property with oil that you didn't disclose on the prenup can be treated by a court in different ways, depending on the judge. A judge may find that the rest of the prenup is enforceable, but the oil property is not included in the prenup and the judge will make a decision as to how it should be treated. It is possible, however, that a judge could invalidate the entire prenup if he or she believes that you didn't disclose the property because you were trying to hide it from your wife; that's fraud.
All property, no matter how seemingly worthless, should be identified for the prenup. So, again, the property should have been declared. The question is now, how will a judge handle your lack of disclosure?
Remember to get a prenup before you get married! A well-written, properly drafted prenuptial agreement can take the guesswork and anxiety out of so many financial issues if you get divorced.
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