You may have signed a prenuptial agreement because you thought that the document would protect you. Alternatively, you may have agreed to sign the document because your spouse wanted you to, and you didn't see any issue with that. Now, after years of marriage and earning your own income, you have to face the reality that divorce may be in your future.
Looking back at your prenuptial agreement, you realize now that the terms really don't benefit you very much. You may wonder if you have any options for contesting the prenuptial agreement in court. Depending on your circumstances, it may be possible to challenge the terms of your prenuptial agreement.
What circumstances potentially invalidate prenuptial agreements?
A prenuptial agreement is, at its heart, a simple contract between two people who intend to marry. The contract typically outlines expectations for both spouses in the marriage and guidelines for handling certain situations, such as asset division, in the event of a divorce.
The courts will generally uphold valid prenuptial agreements in Colorado, but there are definitely circumstances that could invalidate your contract. For example, if you sign the prenuptial agreement while under duress, that could be sufficient to bring a challenge. Examples of duress could include being pregnant and your spouse refusing to marry without the document or the parents of either of you threatening your union or inheritance if you did not sign the prenuptial agreement.
Did you have legal advice and do you benefit from the contract?
Did you have your own attorney look over the prenuptial agreement before you signed it? If not, that could give you grounds to challenge the document. You should not enter into a contract without fully understanding its contents.
Unfortunately, not everyone insists that their spouse secure independent counsel before they agree to terms in a prenuptial agreement. That may have been an attempt to take advantage of you at the time, but it can benefit you in the divorce: It will influence the court's consideration of the validity of the document.
Finally, if it is obvious that the prenuptial agreement was drafted only to protect the interests of your spouse and not you, the courts may rule it unconscionable. A prenuptial agreement should offer benefits to both parties and protections to each spouse. A document that is inherently biased toward the protection or benefit of one spouse may wind up invalidated by the courts.
Even if the contract is valid, you may be able to challenge specific clauses
Perhaps there is only one portion of your prenuptial agreement that you find concerning. Maybe your spouse expected you to waive the obligation to pay child support before you married. Perhaps you agreed to terms for child custody that no longer seem reasonable or fair because you have children you love instead of just a theoretical parental relationship.
Any clause that violates your rights or state law could get thrown out in court. However, you will have to make an argument to the courts regarding the validity of the whole contract or the clause that worries you, in particular. Working with an attorney who understands complex asset division cases and how Colorado courts approach prenuptial agreements can help you improve your chances of a positive outcome in your divorce.