Can you challenge a premarital agreement in a New Jersey divorce?

It has become increasingly common for couples to execute prenuptial agreements prior to legally marrying. New Jersey calls these documents premarital agreements. New Jersey, like most other states, recognizes the validity of these agreements and postnuptial agreements, provided that the parties involved executed them appropriately.

Some people agree to the terms of a premarital agreement without much consideration, assuming they will stay married forever. It is only when the marriage takes a turn for the worse that these people begin to worry about the terms of the premarital agreement. It is actually possible for either spouse to challenge a premarital agreement on a number of different grounds.

You can challenge an agreement if you didn’t have an attorney

One of the simplest reasons for the court to throw out a premarital agreement is if one spouse didn’t truly understand the terms of the agreement. In general, best practices for premarital agreements involve both parties having their own attorney review the documents and advise them about whether signing is a good idea or not.

If you did not have an attorney to help you review the document, you may not have fully understood the terms. That could be adequate reason for the courts to invalidate the terms of the premarital agreement.

Signing under duress could also be reason to invalidate an agreement

In addition to fully understanding the terms of the agreement, both parties should consent of their own free will. There should be no undue pressure or duress. If one spouse threatens the other if they fail to sign, that could constitute duress.

Similarly, if a woman is pregnant at the time of her marriage and the execution of the prenuptial agreement, that could also be duress. If the man will not marry her unless she signs and she doesn’t want to be a single mother, she has no choice but to comply with his demands. In situations involving duress, the courts will typically require some sort of corroborating evidence.

The courts don’t like it when the terms are favorable to only one spouse

A prenuptial agreement should protect the interests of both parties, not just one spouse. However, many times, these documents are constructed in a way that only protects one spouse. In the event of an inequitable imbalance in the document, the courts may choose to disregard the terms of the agreement.

Additionally, they can throw out the prenuptial agreement if it includes anything that violates state law, such as a clause waiving the right to seek child support. Divorcing with a prenuptial agreement can be easy if you wanted the prenuptial agreement to stand. It can be complex if you intend to challenge the prenuptial agreement. In this situation, you will definitely need experienced legal help.