As an experienced prenup, divorce, and family law attorney in Massachusetts, I'm often asked what happens if someone signs a prenup they don't fully understand. This is a common issue that comes up when one spouse is a non-English speaker. Can you get out of a prenup you signed but didn't comprehend because it wasn't in your native language?
I can share my insight from my years of experience in family law. The short answer is — it's complicated. There are a few ways a non-English speaking spouse in Massachusetts could potentially invalidate a prenup due to lack of understanding. Let me break down the key issues:
Duress and Coercion
If a spouse was threatened or emotionally manipulated into signing a prenup they didn't grasp, that could constitute "duress" or "coercion." Again, a language barrier could contribute to this claim. Massachusetts courts won't usually enforce prenups signed under duress or coercion.
If the English-speaking spouse misrepresented the prenup's terms to get the non-English speaking spouse to sign, that prenup could also potentially be invalidated in Massachusetts courts.
Unlike some states, Massachusetts doesn't have a law requiring prenups to be translated for non-English speakers. However, not providing a translation could bolster claims of undue influence or misrepresentation.
The Bottom Line
While language barriers alone are unlikely to invalidate a prenup in Massachusetts, they may be a contributing factor. Anyone signing a prenup in Massachusetts should fully comprehend the terms, with legal counsel. As a prenup attorney, I always advise translation for non-English speakers. Clear communication up front prevents nasty battles down the road.
For experienced guidance on prenups for multilingual couples in Massachusetts, contact me today.
Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and readers should not act upon any information provided without seeking professional legal counsel. The author does not guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information provided. This blog is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.