Will timing cause a judge to invalidate a prenup?

Creating a prenuptial agreement can help solve many problems that could arise should a couple divorce, including settling the division of property and distinguishing separate property from marital property. However, if a spouse challenges a prenuptial agreement in court, a judge might find a reason to invalidate it if the spouses signed the document at a questionable date. 

According to CNBC, a couple can sign a prenuptial agreement any time before the wedding. Couples may do so shortly after the engagement or just before they say “I do.” Nothing stops a couple from signing an agreement at the latest possible moment before the wedding ceremony. So even if two spouses sign a prenup very close to a wedding, a judge may still enforce it. 

However, if one of the spouses chooses to litigate the prenup, a judge might have problems with the agreement if the couple had signed it too close to the wedding. One of the things judges look for to determine the fairness of a prenup is whether one of the spouses signed it under duress. If one spouse coerced the other to sign it, a judge may declare the agreement unenforceable. 

The timing of the wedding can turn into an argument for duress. A spouse might argue that a husband or wife refused to present the completed prenuptial document until the day of the wedding, so there was no time to properly review it with an attorney. The spouse could claim the pressure of signing it in a hurry to get on with the wedding was a form of duress. A judge might agree with this argument and invalidate the prenup. 

Preventing an appearance of duress is why some couples try to compose and sign an agreement well in advance of a wedding. However, in the event a couple faces an imminent wedding date and they have no time to properly craft a prenup, they can choose to compose an agreement after they get married in the form of a postnuptial agreement.