A prenuptial agreement can be a great way to lay out financial obligations during the course of marriage while also protecting assets and your personal interests in the event that divorce occurs. But what once may have seemed like a favorable agreement may look pretty harsh when divorce is on the horizon, threatening your financial well-being once your marriage dissolution is complete.
Facing this reality can be extraordinarily stressful, but before you sit back and accept that you’re tied to the agreement, you should carefully analyze the document and the circumstances surrounding its signing to see if there’s a way to escape the agreement. If you’re successful in doing so, you might obtain the long-term financial stability that you deserve.
How can you challenge the validity of a prenuptial agreement?
Fortunately, you have a lot of options here. These are just some of the ways that you may be able to have your prenuptial agreement deemed invalid:
- Show that the agreement was never reduced to writing: In order to be legally binding, your prenuptial agreement has to be put in writing. Verbal promises probably aren’t going to hold in court.
- Demonstrate coercion: If you were pressured or threatened in some fashion as a way to get you to sign off on a prenuptial agreement, your execution of the document in question was illegally obtained. So, make sure you consider the circumstances surrounding the creation and signing of the document and what your spouse said to you at the time.
- Implicate time constraints: A prenuptial agreement carries a lot of weight. Therefore, you should have ample time to consider its terms before signing off on it. If you were given a limited amount of time to agree to it, you might be able to successfully argue that the agreement should be deemed invalid due to lack of consideration.
- Show that certain provisions are illegal: Even if you can’t invalidate the entire prenuptial agreement, you may be able to bounce several of its provisions if you can demonstrate that they were illegal. For example, a prenuptial agreement can’t give away child support and visitation rights that would otherwise be obtained through divorce proceedings.
- Illustrate how you relied on false information: Prenuptial agreements are supposed to be founded on honesty and trust. But if your spouse lied to you about their assets and/or their debts, which you relied on to make the decision to sign a prenuptial agreement, you have a strong chance of showing that your consent to the agreement was fraudulently obtained and the agreement is, therefore, void.
- Demonstrate extreme unfairness: Even if a prenuptial agreement is legally executed, a court may find it unenforceable if the court deems it so one sided that it is fundamentally unfair. So, as you’re looking over your prenuptial agreement, think of ways that you can show that it more fully protects your spouse than it does you.
Be ready to fight for the fair outcome that’s right for you
The outcome of your prenuptial agreement dispute can have long-lasting implications. That’s why if this is an issue in your divorce, you should craft a well thought out legal strategy aimed at the legal intricacies involved in your case.
An experienced attorney may be able to help you do this so that you’re adequately fighting for what you deserve out of your divorce. But the burden is on you to be proactive in initiating this fight, which might start with choosing a legal ally to have in your corner.