Can a Prenup Cause Problems During a Divorce?
Signing prenuptial agreements before getting married is becoming more and more common in this day and age. While the practice was once widely viewed as unromantic, many couples understand that the right agreement can protect their interests both during a marriage and in the event of a divorce. If you are facing divorce and have a prenup, you may wonder how it might affect the divorce process. You should discuss your specific situation with a divorce attorney in Murfreesboro as soon as possible.
Possible Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement in Divorce
A prenuptial agreement can dictate how several issues should be resolved in a divorce, such as:
- Whether a spouse is entitled to alimony
- Whether each spouse gets to keep certain property, such as a house or business
- Who will be responsible for certain debts
- The amount of a lump sum property distribution to each spouse
Sometimes, a prenup determines how spouses will settle alimony or property division issues that would otherwise turn into lengthy - and costly - disputes. The right prenup can keep your case out of court, save time, and reduce the legal services you may need.
Potential Problems with a Prenup
While a prenuptial agreement can help divorcing spouses, it can also cause problems, as well. A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract, which means that the principles of contract law apply. In some situations, one spouse may seek to prove that the contract or certain terms should be rendered invalid by the court. Some common reasons for a prenup challenge include:
- A spouse signed the agreement based on fraud, as the other spouse failed to honestly disclose the details of their financial situation
- A spouse signed the agreement due to coercion or duress
- A spouse did not have the required mental capacity to agree to the terms of the prenup, possibly due to drug use, alcohol, or mental illness
- The terms of the agreement are grossly unfair - or “unconscionable” - as they will leave one spouse destitute and the other with excessive property and support
When determining whether or not a prenup is a valid contract, the court will need to examine all of the relevant circumstances surrounding the signing of the agreement in addition to the contract itself. The court may want to hear from witnesses to the signing, review emails or messages between the engaged couple prior to signing the agreement, and learn about the information provided to each spouse before they made the decision to sign.
If a court rules a prenup invalid, the contract will not play a role in the divorce. However, this process can result in extra time, money, and stress during the divorce.
Consult with Our Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyers for More Information
The divorce attorneys at Dotson & Taylor know how to handle divorce cases with or without prenuptial agreements. We do everything we can to protect the rights of our clients, so please call 615-890-1982 or contact us online if you are facing divorce.