When a couple who has a prenuptial agreement chooses to divorce, they may have a simpler, less contentious experience than couples without a prenuptial agreement. Unfortunately, a prenuptial agreement that contains technical errors or legal weaknesses can prolong a divorce, especially if one spouse or the other decides to challenge the agreement.
If you have a prenuptial agreement and believe that divorce is in your future, now is the time to review the agreement. Ideally, an agreement created with careful attention to detail will keep your rights and priorities protected throughout the divorce process. However, you may find errors or weaknesses in your agreement as you review it, giving you key insights as you build your divorce strategy.
Looking for technical errors
Prenuptial agreements are not one-size-fits-all documents. For a prenuptial agreement to truly serve its purpose, it requires careful construction and execution. Technical errors create opportunities for one party or another to challenge the agreement, or a court may decide that the agreement is partially or wholly invalid. Technical errors may include:
- Incomplete or inaccurate information, such as undisclosed financial statements
- Absence of a written agreement (verbal agreement only)
- Failure to sign the agreement with proper witnesses
- Failure to sign agreement before marriage
- A party signed the agreement without independent legal counsel
- A party signed the agreement without reading it
- A party was not given time to review the agreement before signing
Each of these errors can weaken or invalidate the agreement, so it always important to do your due diligence in order to protect your interests.
Identifying legal problems
An agreement that does not contain any technical errors may still not stand up to scrutiny in court. While the law allows couples to create prenuptial agreements as they see fit, some couples choose to include terms that the law does not allow. Similarly, some prenuptial agreements treat one party unethically, which may cause a court to strike some or all of the agreement. Legal issues like these may include:
- One party signing under coercion
- Illegal terms dealing with child support, alimony or child custody
- One party faces severe financial impairment or grossly unfair debt distribution
Strong prenuptial agreements are very useful in a Texas divorce, allowing couples to streamline the property division process. Without a prenuptial agreement, Texas’s community property laws require couples to divide their marital property equally, which can cause significant conflicts.
As you build your divorce strategy, make sure to examine your prenuptial agreement for errors and weaknesses. Your divorce strategy can help ensure that you stay protected, avoiding some of the most frustrating and costly aspects of the divorce process. It is wise to use high-quality legal resources and guidance as you need them, keeping your rights and priorities safe and allowing you to focus on building your path to the next season of life.