Navigating Duress in Family Law Agreements

If Someone Is Pressured or Threatened into Signing a Divorce Agreement, That Act May be Considered Illegal Coercion. Any Agreement Reached This Way May be Deemed Invalid, and the Victim Can Fight It in Court to Have It Thrown Out.

Navigating Duress in Family Law Agreements in Wayne, NJDuress occurs when someone is forced to do something against their will or their good judgment through the use of threats, coercion, pressure, or violence. It is illegal in New Jersey, including in the case of divorce. Placing someone under duress so that they sign a divorce and property settlement agreement, agree to hand over custody of a child, change child support demands, or augment other elements of a divorce settlement, may result in the agreement being null and void and depending on the nature of the coercion, it could even lead to more serious penalties. If you believe you have been placed under duress to sign a divorce settlement agreement in New Jersey, you have the right to petition for the agreement to be invalidated. Our team at The Montanari Law Group is here to help you gather the evidence necessary to support your claim and ensure that your interests are protected moving forward.

Examining Coercive Strategies in NJ Divorce Negotiations

When it comes to divorce, duress is the use of any pressure to force a spouse to agree to certain terms. Both spouses must voluntarily participate in and sign their divorce agreement. Usually, duress does not include violence in the case of divorce, though the use of threats of violence to place certain demands is not unheard of in New Jersey family court. Most often, duress occurs because one spouse fails to disclose all information important for the other to make an informed decision in the agreement. In these cases, the spouse placed under duress would not have signed the agreement had they had all of the information regarding its stipulations. Another type of duress is more overt: one spouse places the other under direct pressure to agree to unfair terms of the divorce by threatening them, bribing them with a financial deal, or gaslighting them.

Impact of Duress on Family Law Agreements

If it is found that one spouse has placed the other under duress in the process of coming to a divorce agreement, or other family law contracts involved in a divorce, prenuptial agreement, child custody agreement, or marital settlement agreement, may be rendered null and void.

Nullifying Prenups in Cases of Duress

The family court will invalidate a prenuptial agreement if a spouse proves that they were forced to sign a divorce agreement (or the original prenuptial agreement) under duress.

If I was Coerced into Signing a Divorce Agreement in NJ, What Can I Do?

Divorce Under Duress Case Lawyers in Fort Lee, NJIt is not easy to prove that you were under duress when signing a divorce document. As such, it is important to have the legal support of an experienced family law attorney on your side. To prove that you were under duress when signing a document, you must show that either you were under direct threat of being the victim of some illegal action or you did not want to agree but had no real alternative to offering your signature. Providing proof to this end can come in a few forms. If you have prior copies of the settlement agreement that are largely different from the final version, you may be able to show that your hand was forced to come to the ultimate agreement. Also, witness testimony can be used as proof of coercion or other forms of duress. Finally, direct proof that someone threatened, bribed, or otherwise coerced you can be used in court to prove duress and nullify all legal documents related to your divorce agreement.

Consult a Talented Little Falls, New Jersey Divorce Lawyer to Review Your Options

First things first: hire an experienced attorney to represent you in your divorce and claim of duress. You can protect your interests if you believe that your signature divorce agreement or prenuptial agreement was forced, and a qualified attorney will be essential for that protection. Our family lawyers can help you gather documentation to prove your claim, as well as gather testimony from witnesses close to the action. We can also help you prepare evidence based on what the court will consider, including whether you had legal counsel to review the agreement before signing or whether there was an imbalance of power between spouses in the development of the divorce agreement.

Our team at The Montanari Law Group has successfully represented countless clients in Caldwell, Passaic, West Milford, Millburn, Montvale, South Orange, Woodland Park, Hackensack, South Orange, Short Hills, and nearby towns across Northern New Jersey, including those whose hands were forced in the matter of divorce or other family law contracts. We are committed to protecting your interests so you can move forward with your life empowered. Contact us today at (973) 233-4396 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your situation and your potential options.


To speak with one of our highly knowledgeable attorneys, contact us today at (973)-233-4396 or toll-free at (888)-877-7985. You can also complete the form below to begin your conversation. We are a personalized, boutique-style law firm that offers free initial consultations and flexible appointment options.