Most people think that simply downloading a prenuptial agreement from the internet and signing it with their significant other offers them a bullet proof protection in the event of a divorce. Unfortunately, what most of these people don’t realize is that certain statutory requirements must be met in order for the prenuptial agreement to be valid and to withstand attack in a court of law in the midst of a divorce proceeding. These legal requirements are often not met in generic prenuptial agreements found on the internet.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial is a legal agreement entered into between two people before they get married that can cover a wide variety of issues centered on property rights and assets. Additionally, prenuptials can also cover other important issues such as:
– Estate planning
– Student debt
– Spousal support
A variety of other legal issues including the division and attribution of income earned during marriage
The main purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to deviate from what the law would provide in the event of a divorce. Divorcing couples generally want to protect their assets from distribution and a prenup is the obvious way to do this. There are other reasons to sign a prenuptial agreement as well, such as protecting and supporting children from a prior marriage.
Enforcing a Prenuptial Agreement Under California Laws
Family Code Section 1615 provides that a prenuptial agreement is not enforceable if the party against whom it is enforced proves either of the following:
– That party did not voluntarily execute the agreement; OR
– The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed and, before the execution of the agreement, all of the following applied to that party:
- Party was not provided a fair, reasonable, and full disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party
- Party did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided
- Party did not have, or reasonably could have had, an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of othe other party
The court will determine how the term “unconscionability” should be defined depending on the specific facts of each case.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Family Law Attorney
If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced family law attorney to help you learn your legal rights and options with respect to the division of your assets.