When a couple takes the extra step of negotiating a prenuptial agreement before they get married, they probably have assets they want to protect or have made promises to one another that they need to be able to enforce.
Generally speaking, prenuptial agreements in New Jersey can lead to fast and more affordable uncontested divorces. Unfortunately, not all prenuptial agreements will hold up under scrutiny.
Whether you signed a prenuptial agreement that you now think is unfair or you worry that your spouse is going to challenge your agreement, understanding when the courts can invalidate a prenuptial agreement can help you.
When the agreement is unconscionable
Any contract should offer benefits to each party signing. If your prenuptial agreement only protects one spouse at the expense of the other, the court may decide that the contract is unconscionable and that it will not enforce it.
When there are illegal terms or paperwork problems
Sometimes, the rules set in a prenuptial agreement violate state law. For example, a parent can’t preemptively waive child support. Other times, the document itself is enforceable, but there are issues with the signatures or witnesses. Both inappropriate inclusions and oversights during signing can invalidate a prenuptial agreement.
When someone signed without counsel or under duress
Sometimes, only one spouse has an attorney advising them, which leaves the other one at a significant disadvantage. If only one partner had a careful, independent review of the agreements performed, the other may not understand what they signed.
Additionally, when one spouse manipulates, threatens or courses the other into signing, the courts may agree that those circumstances constituted duress and that the other party did not sign the document of their own volition.
Recognizing what situations can invalidate a prenuptial agreement during a divorce can help you determine whether yours will likely hold up in court.