Was Your Prenuptial Agreement Coerced?

June 24th, 2022 by Tad Nelson in Family Law

At heart, premarital agreements are contracts between two people about to get married. As with all contracts, a person can enter a prenuptial agreement that might strike another person as unfair or ridiculous. That doesn’t necessarily make them illegal. After all, you might overpay for your new car, but the sale contract is still legally binding. The same principle applies to prenups.

However, Texas judges will look negatively on any agreement which the parties did not enter into freely. This means judges are interested in whether either spouse signed the agreement due to duress or coercion.

If you want to draft a prenuptial agreement, work with a Galveston family law attorney. We can ensure your agreement doesn’t contain any illegal terms. We will also ensure your prenup isn’t vulnerable to an attack based on coercion or duress.

Timing Considerations

Courts will look at the timing of the agreement. Handing something to your partner the night before the wedding might look coercive. The taint of coercion increases if you don’t give your partner enough time to go over the draft agreement with an attorney.

Best practice: give yourself plenty of time to draft, review, and negotiate a prenuptial agreement. This means starting months before your wedding date. Each side should have their own lawyer to review it and possibly negotiate changes to the draft. This way, you give the appearance that each side made a considered judgment to enter the agreement.

Threats or Physical Violence

Any type of threatening behavior—even verbal threats—can create the appearance of coercion. One way to avoid this is to only talk about the proposed prenuptial agreement when legal counsel is present.

Of course, saying, “I won’t marry you if you don’t sign” could be seen as a threat. But the threats a court is most interested in are threats of physical violence or something similar.

Lies and Incomplete Financial Disclosures

It usually isn’t one thing which convinces a judge to invalidate a prenuptial agreement but many things combined. For example, giving your fiancée a short window of time to review a prenup might not, by itself, be fatal. But add in a lack of honesty or full disclosure of your financial situation, and judges might start viewing the agreement as the fruit of coercion.

This is another reason to always work with an attorney: we will ensure that you make all required disclosures and don’t say anything misleading. Being upfront is the best strategy from a legal standpoint. It is also the best strategy when planning for a successful marriage.

Let Us Handle Your Prenuptial Agreement

The League City family law attorneys at Tad Nelson can create a solid prenuptial agreement that will stand up in court. You don’t want to get knee deep into a divorce only to find out that your prenup is ineffective. Get the legal help you need now to draft a compelling agreement the right way. Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today to schedule a meeting.

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