Prenuptial Agreement in California
A Prenuptial agreement can protect assets you acquired before your marriage. If you are planning on getting married, you and your future spouse may want to at least consider signing a prenuptial agreement, which can protect your interests in the event of a divorce. Even if you do not think such a document is the right fit for you, discussing it will at least get you thinking about the effect your marriage will have on your finances.
We can help you decide if a prenuptial agreement is the right fit for you, and can draft and negotiate one on your behalf.
The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) has applied to California prenups since 1986. In general, this law states that written prenuptial agreements signed by both parties will automatically become effective once the couple marries. An agreement can cover a couple’s present and future property rights, as well as other matters related to the marriage, but it can’t negatively affect a child’s right to child support, or take away a court’s power to control child custody and visitation after marriage.
Principles of general contract law also apply to prenuptial agreements. Agreements require valid consent, meaning that a person must have the mental ability to consent, and that consent cannot be the result of fraud, inappropriate influence, or mistake.
Amendments to the UPAA that apply to California prenuptial agreements made after 2002 state that agreements will be enforced against a spouse only if that spouse:
- Received complete information about the other spouse’s property and finances prior to signing the agreement
- Had at least 7 days between first receiving the agreement and signing it (to allow enough time to have an attorney review the agreement), and
- Was represented by a separate attorney when signing the agreement, unless the spouse
- Received full information in writing about the terms and basic effect of the agreement, including any rights and obligations the agreement would nullify, and
- Signed a separate document acknowledging receipt of such information, identifying the person who provided the information, and expressly waiving the right to an attorney
Even if all of the above requirements are satisfied, unless the spouse was represented by an attorney, any provision in the agreement affecting rights to future spousal support (alimony) will not be enforceable.
Do not hesitate to contact our firm today to schedule your free consultation