When you got married, you drafted a prenup and had your spouse sign it. This was not your first marriage, and you learned a lot the first time around. You knew you wanted to protect yourself from a potential divorce.
Well, now that day has arrived. Your spouse says that they want to end the marriage. You feel confident in your prenup, but should you? Will it actually protect you?
It is important to note that a prenuptial agreement can be invalid for a number of reasons. If you don’t find out until you get to court, you could be in for a shock. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons:
1. Your spouse lacked the mental capacity to sign.
One example of this is if you waited until they had been drinking or using drugs — perhaps even prescription medications — before getting them to sign. They may claim that they did not understand what the document said, what it meant or what they were signing.
2. They felt like they were under duress.
In no case can you put someone under duress in order to get them to sign. If they felt like they had no choice — maybe they claim you threatened them or intimidated them — then they can’t legally agree to the prenup. It has to be something that they read and signed because they honestly agreed to it and wanted to sign.
3. You waited too long to bring it up.
This is a special type of duress. Waiting until a day that is far too close to the wedding puts extra pressure on your spouse. They may not want to tell people the wedding is off when guests are already in town. They may not want to cancel things that they can’t get the deposit back for. Either way, springing a last-minute prenup on someone is a sure way to cause issues.
4. You never wrote anything down.
If you have a document already, this doesn’t apply to you, but it is important to note that an oral prenup will not stand. Maybe your spouse told you that you could have all of the money in the event of a divorce — or, maybe that’s what you think they agreed to. Still, you need a written legal document, not a handshake deal.
Heading for divorce
If you have a prenup, you need to be sure it’s valid. Even if you don’t have one, you need to know what your rights are as you head for divorce. This can become a complicated process and learning as much as you can before you get to court is always wise.