Premarital agreements may be losing some of their stigma in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the country. In fact, according to Business Insider, the popularity of these documents is on the rise as people marry later and enter relationships with more of their own assets and debts. The divorce rate is also dropping, possibly due to some of the same cautions that prompt couples to sign prenups before marrying.

When a couple with a premarital agreement does head to divorce court, one spouse could decide to dispute the validity of the document. According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, in order to win the claim, he or she will have to provide solid evidence in court of either coercion or lack of knowledge.

Coercion

One of the spouses did not want to sign the document. The other may have used intimidation, guilt or some other means of emotional or mental pressure to coerce the signature before the wedding.

Perhaps one party brought out the document hours before the wedding and threatened to call the whole thing off if the other party would not sign. They already spent thousands of dollars, and hundreds of guests sent in their RSVPs. In this situation, the date on the document may be proof to the judge that one spouse did not sign the document voluntarily.

Lack of knowledge

One of the spouses hid the extent of his or her assets and/or debts, or at least did not fairly provide an adequate account of them; neither party voluntarily signed a waiver stating that full disclosure was not necessary; and one of the spouses did not understand the assets and liabilities of the other.

For example, investment assets that one spouse owned before the marriage may be separate property, but the interest earned during the marriage may be marital property. If one has significant investments but says merely that they should keep investment assets separate without revealing the wealth that these would generate during the relationship, the other may claim a lack of full disclosure.