A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract that couples sign before marriage, generally detailing how they will divide their assets and debts should they divorce. If your partner is creating the prenup, they need to follow several guidelines or the court might consider it invalid and unenforceable. One of these rules prohibits any form of coercion when you sign the document.
Why is coercion prohibited?
As is generally the case with other contracts, all parties should sign a prenup willingly. You must have had enough time to read and understand the prenup’s terms and agree to them. Additionally, it is imperative that your partner did not threaten, deceive or pressure you into affixing your signature.
Forcing one party into signing a prenup puts them in a position they likely would not consent to under normal circumstances. It also places them in a potentially unfair situation if the marriage ends.
What are possible indications of coercion?
The court usually examines certain details of a prenup for telltale signs of coercion. They might consider the following as potential red flags:
- Signature date. Signing too close to the wedding day might mean your partner threatened or pressured you into agreeing to the prenup at the last minute. Or, at the very least, they did not give you sufficient time to read the contract, which means you are likely entering it blindly.
- No attorney. It might be a red flag if your partner had an attorney while signing the document and you did not. You may not fully understand the prenup’s terms, or the lawyer’s presence pressured you into signing.
- State of mind. The court will likely confirm that you were of sound mind when you signed the prenup. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol usually dulls a person’s comprehension, or it might make some people easier to manipulate.
A prenup can have lasting consequences, so it is crucial that you sign it willingly and under no deception of any kind. If you feel that your prenup is contentious in any way, an attorney can review the document and help you fight for your rights.