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Do you have to sign the prenup your spouse gives you?

It has been said before on this blog that prenuptial agreements can be incredibly useful legal documents because they help ease tensions during divorce by taking care of property division ahead of time. But as we have also said before, prenups aren’t for every couple, meaning just because one couple wants a prenup doesn’t mean another couple will find it as appealing.

Of course, this pro- and anti-prenup sentiment isn’t just apparent among different couples, it can be found within a couple as well. As you can imagine, one spouse might see the benefit of signing a prenup while the other does not. This can create contentions that may not be easily addressed. It may even lead to a situation in which one partner presents their spouse with a prenup and tells them to sign it, begging the question: do you have to sign the prenup your spouse gives you?

The answer is no. Here in California, our laws clearly state that a premarital agreement, or prenup, must be signed by both parties in order to be considered valid. But this isn’t the only factor at play. The courts also take into consideration what is included in the prenup and how it was presented to the other spouse. If it’s determined that one spouse forced the other spouse to sign the prenup under duress, then the document is not considered valid and cannot be enforced in the event of divorce.

Even though a spouse might try to use their skills of persuasion to make you believe that you have to sign a prenup because it was presented to you, we’d like you to know that this isn’t true and that actually signing under duress can result in an unenforceable prenup.