Decisions made amid the intense emotions of a passionate relationship do not always serve a person’s best interests. For example, many people don’t think twice about signing a prenuptial agreement that limits their marital property rights upon divorce.
Unfortunately, that document that once seemed so harmless could ultimately cost you a fair share of marital property upon divorce. Generally, courts follow prenups, but they may invalidate them under certain circumstances.
Unconscionable or grossly unfair
Contrary to popular belief, a prenuptial agreement need not distribute marital property equally to be valid. However, prenups that may cause one spouse to experience severe economic hardships while the other is allowed to flourish are often invalidated.
Coerced, threatened or forced
An agreement is invalid if a signing party coerced or pressured another into signing the document. In most of these cases, one future spouse pressures the other, but sometimes their family or others could also engage in coercion.
When they are fair and balanced, prenups benefit most couples, but there is still only so much they can do. For example, prenups cannot address things like child custody and support.
No independent counsel
In California, one party may limit or even waive their right to spousal support in a prenuptial agreement. However, the court may decide not to enforce such provisions if the party giving up alimony did not have legal counsel when they signed.
You must take steps to protect your rights if you signed a prenuptial agreement that seems grossly unjust now that you are divorcing. Gather evidence showing why the document is not valid or legal and learn more about your rights under the law.