A prenuptial agreement is a contract that an engaged couple signs before they solemnize a marriage. The agreement may outline their expectations for the relationship or about property that they want to protect if they get divorced later.
If you and your spouse already signed a prenuptial agreement and your marriage is going through a difficult time, the document could play a major role in your upcoming divorce proceedings.
Marital agreements dictate the terms of a divorce
Provided that the courts agree that the prenuptial agreement is both valid and enforceable, they will uphold the terms of the contract even if one spouse asks them to throw it out. The prenuptial agreement can impact how the courts divide property or even what property is subject to division. It can influence how you share custody and potentially deviate from state standards for spousal support.
The terms in your prenuptial agreement will become the terms in your divorce settlement. You will be able to file an uncontested divorce where a judge just has to review and approve your settlement before finalizing the divorce.
Prenuptial agreements can complicate a divorce
Even if your spouse had their own lawyer and negotiated specific concessions in the prenuptial agreement, they may decide when divorce is imminent that the agreement is not favorable enough.
If your spouse challenges the prenuptial agreement, you may have to spend time in court proving that the courts should uphold it. Disputes about marital agreements can make for a messy divorce. Thankfully, personal dissatisfaction isn’t an adequate reason to invalidate an agreement between spouses. There will need to be legitimate grounds for such a challenge.
Going over your prenuptial agreement can help you figure out what to expect if you intend to file for divorce in the future.