You had the idea for the prenuptial agreement long before you and your spouse got married. You knew what you wanted: financial protection. You had a lot more wealth than your significant other. While you were dating, you didn’t worry about it that much. Getting married was a serious step forward, though, and you knew you needed to protect those assets.
So, you got the prenup. You have assumed ever since that it would protect you during a divorce. It gave you peace of mind.
The last thing you need is to find out, when you do head for divorce, that the document is invalid. It’s a rough surprise, and it can absolutely cost you in court. Suddenly, all of your financial planning feels wasted. Why could this happen?
1. You never had it reviewed by a lawyer
Did you try to draft the prenup on your own? People often make mistakes and errors that, having no experience with prenups, they never recognize until it is too late. As with any other legal process, you there are many pitfalls. Mistakes or overlooked issues could render the whole thing useless.
2. Your spouse claims they were under duress when they signed
You can never coerce anyone into signing a prenup or force them to sign it against their will. If you put your spouse under duress and they felt they had no option but to sign it, then it may not going to hold up in court. The only way a prenup stands is when both people agreed to it of their own free will prior to the marriage. However, there are many misconceptions about what does or does not amount to duress in this type of situation.
3. Your spouse lacked information about your financial situation
A prenuptial agreement often results in a spouse giving up potentially valuable rights they would otherwise have as a result of the marriage. A valid waiver of those potentially valuable rights cannot be made in the dark. It requires a fair and adequate advance disclosure of your assets and liabilities and general financial circumstances. A wealthy person often may not want to disclose their actual financial situation, but it is required for a valid prenuptial agreement.
4. Your spouse lacked the mental capacity to sign
This doesn’t necessarily mean that your spouse never had the mental capacity, perhaps due to a disability, though that does raise some red flags. It often just refers to a temporary lapse, perhaps due to the use of drugs or alcohol. If you and your spouse went out for drinks, came home rather intoxicated, and then signed a prenup, it could get thrown out of court.
Whether you’re worried about the prenup being invalid or not, you have a lot at stake in this divorce. Make sure you know what steps you need to take moving forward.