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What should you do if your spouse violates your prenup?

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements serve a number of important functions for couples. They help outline the expectations both parties have in marriage, particularly in the case of postnuptial agreements, which can often be a final step in an attempt to save a struggling marriage.

They provide guidelines for divorce that makes ending a marriage simpler and less expensive. These agreements also may include prohibitions against certain behaviors and penalties for a spouse who engages in certain activities, such as narcotic drug abuse or an extramarital affair. Unfortunately, not everyone will abide by the terms of a marital agreement.

Why do people create these documents?

Sometimes, simply signing a document that creates serious legal consequences for bad behavior can be enough to motivate someone to avoid those behaviors. Other times, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement will have very little practical effect on the behavior of the person who signs it.

A person may assume they'll never get caught, or they may plan to contest the contract if there are issues. They may not even think of their obligations at the time that they violate the agreement. If you discover that your spouse has violated the terms of your agreement, you will have to make some decisions in your immediate future.

Should you take steps to enforce your agreement?

The biggest question may be whether the issue you discovered is a justifiable reason to end your marriage and potentially invoke penalty clauses involved in the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Your emotions may be quite high immediately after discovering what amounts to a contractual betrayal by your spouse. Whether they engaged in gambling after promising they would not or they failed to remain faithful to you, you may have trouble making a rational decision the first few days after you find out.

Sitting down to talk with an attorney can help you decide what your best options are. Your attorney can also help document the breach of your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in a way that will help if you go to court.

Be prepared for your spouse to potentially fight back

Even if you catch your spouse red-handed in a prohibited activity, they may not want to admit what they did. Even if they do know they did wrong, they may no longer accept the terms of your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement once they realize they will have to pay a certain price as a result.

It is possible that your spouse will attempt to defend against your claims by invalidating the agreement or claiming you breached contract before they did. You need to have a legal strategy in place if you wish to act on provisions included in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Working with an attorney who understands how Colorado family courts handle cases involving these complex legal documents can help you make better decisions as you head toward divorce.

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