Prenuptial agreements can help people in unhappy marriages secure fast and cost-effective divorces. Taking the time to negotiate how you will divide your property or how much spousal support someone requires before you get married means you have fewer things left to chance or a third party’s decision if you do file for divorce.
Unfortunately, the effort and time invested in the creation of a prenup could go to waste if one spouse challenges the agreement and the court decides to invalidate it. When might your prenup not hold up to scrutiny in court?
When one spouse did not have legal advice before signing
It is common for one spouse’s lawyer to draft the prenup, but that lawyer has a duty to protect their client, not both people signing the documents.
Both spouses having their own attorneys when negotiating a prenup is very important. Those who don’t have their own legal counsel may be able to assert that they didn’t understand the document they signed and convince the court to invalidate it.
When the document clearly only benefits one spouse
Even if someone did have an attorney review the document, they may not have asked for any concessions prior to signing. In a situation where the document only protects the rights and property of one spouse, a judge may agree that it is effectively unconscionable.
Contracts should offer valuable consideration for both parties. A prenup that benefits one spouse over the other may not stand up against a challenge.
When one spouse coerced the other into signing
Prenuptial agreements, like other contracts, are only valid when the parties signing the document do so of their own free will. If one person threatens, bullies or coerces the other into signing, that could lead to the court throwing the document out.
Recognizing some of the more common issues with prenuptial agreements can help you avoid making those mistakes with your own.