The writing is on the wall. Your marriage has been becoming increasingly strained for a long while, and you are beginning to feel that divorce is your only option. However, just as you begin thinking about approaching the legal side of your separation, you remember that you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement.
If you are like many people, this may be the first time you’ve thought about this agreement in years or even decades. As a result, you aren’t entirely certain what it means for your impending divorce. The following guide will debunk five common myths you might believe about prenuptial agreements.
1. The Prenup Doomed Your Marriage
Some believe that a prenup is a sign of distrust in your future partner that can contribute to a future separation. However, all a prenup actually shows is that you are willing to have difficult conversations in advance, which is something that every married couple needs to be able to do. If you can’t have those tough conversations with your partner, the marriage won’t last long.
Some people also believe that prenups encourage people to cheat, but that doesn’t add up either. Some prenups include clauses that financially punish the cheating partner. And your lawyer may have advised you to include such a clause before you married.
It is a bit harsh to say so, but your marriage was going to come to an end regardless of whether you signed that prenup. The prenup just gives you some insurance that your divorce lawyer can use to protect your interests.
2. The Prenup Only Protects Your Spouse
No good lawyer is going to let you sign a prenup that protects your spouse but not you. That would be a violation of their legal duties. In fact, if a prenup is too one-sided, the court will usually refuse to enforce it, an outcome that is of no value to the client. Even if you don’t understand all the details of your prenup, you can rest assured knowing that it protects your financial future.
3. The Prenup Is Only Relevant During Divorce Proceedings
While this is possible, you may want to read your prenup again to make sure. Many prenuptial agreements also include agreements about what will occur during the marriage. This may not seem relevant with your marriage coming to an end, but it could affect what you get in the divorce.
For example, suppose that your prenup requires your spouse to deposit money in an account every year. If they failed to do so, they would have violated the agreement. Your divorce lawyer can use that failure to obtain more assets for you in the divorce.
The prenup may even have clauses that allow you to draw on specific funds to assist in a divorce or hire a divorce lawyer.
4. Prenups Only Dictate How Assets Are Disbursed in the Divorce
If you think this is true, it might mean that you only considered money when creating a prenup. But these agreements can cover much more than that.
As long as it complies with Minnesota divorce laws, a prenup can define child custody after a divorce or other matters that aren’t strictly financial. This is another reason you should read your prenup carefully now that you are considering divorce. It might affect you in a non-financial way that you aren’t prepared for.
5. Prenups Aren’t Enforced by the Courts
There are situations where a court will nullify parts or all of a prenup. If one partner was unfairly coerced into signing it or if it is completely one-sided, the court is likely to strike the agreement in its entirety. However, if only some portions of the prenup violate state divorce laws, don’t expect the court to nullify it entirely. Instead, it will more likely just nullify portions of the prenup.
And the court will never nullify a prenup just because you have changed your mind about what you agreed to. Contract law is strongly protected by the U.S. Constitution, and few courts will break a contract — especially knowing that an appeals court would likely overrule them.
Book a Quick Guidance Call With Johnson/Turner Legal
One of the main advantages of having a prenuptial agreement in place when you get a divorce is that you know what to expect at the end of the process. However, that doesn’t mean you should get divorced without a lawyer. Contact our law firm today to book a Quick Guidance Call.