Prenuptial are contracts between future spouses, who are thinking about getting married. Many times spouses want to handle their property division during marriage or in the event of a dissolution, or death of a spouse differently than the current state law, a prenuptial agreement might be an appropriate option for achieving the desired result. Also reducing to writing thereby clarifying the desired differences in advance can save significant attorney’s fees resolving issues should a dissolution occur.
Spousal support can also be decided in the prenuptial agreement, if the spouse whose rights are limited, has independent legal representation at the time of signing. However, should the courts find the waiver of spousal support unconscionable, they will not allow it.
Child support is never a part of the prenuptial agreement. Under California statute the right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.
The prenuptial agreement only becomes effective upon marriage. For domestic partnerships, the date of registration is equivalent to the date of marriage.
A premarital agreement must be in writing, and signed by both parties. It can be modified or revoked after the couple is married, but again, only in writing, with signatures by both spouses.
Validity of Prenuptial Agreements
The agreement must be signed voluntarily, absent any coercion. The party presented with the agreement must either seek advice from an independent legal counsel, or must in writing waive the right to seek legal advice.
Additionally the presented spouse must be given at least seven days to consult a lawyer, before signing a prenuptial agreement. The future spouses must provide each other with fair, reasonable, and full disclosure of their financial obligations and property, unless they waive the right to such information in writing. If the presented party has no legal representation at signing, they must also be given appropriate explanation as to the contents of the agreement.