How do prenups work in California?

Discussions on prenuptial agreements are probably an unromantic and skeptical part of a couple's engagement. However, these agreements can help avoid disputes if they ever divorce and even allow couples to learn about the value of their property.

California law governs prenups and refers to them as premarital agreements. Engaged couples makes these agreements which take effect when they become married.

These agreements must be written. Oral agreements, in the eyes of the law, do not exist and are unenforceable.

Financial disclosure is an important requirement. The agreement may not be grossly unfair to either of the spouses. Each party must fully comprehend a premarital agreement and cannot enter it under coercion.

Each spouse must review and consider the agreement. California requires at least seven days between the time an agreement is presented to a spouse and its signing.

A prenup can govern any financial matter. However, premarital agreements cannot cover issues concerning children such as child custody and support.

California law also specifically addresses alimony. Terms limiting or waiving spousal support are unenforceable unless the spousal recipient had their own attorney.

Alimony terms will not be enforced if they are unconscionable when they take effect. This determination cannot be made before the end of a marriage because a spouse's financial situation may change at any time.

The normal time-period governing the filing of contact lawsuits do not govern prenuptial agreements. The statute of limitations does not run when the couple is married.

Prenuptial agreements may be changed or revoked after marriage. Spouses must follow the procedures that apply to the original drafting of the agreement.

A party should seek a qualified attorney when negotiating these agreements. A lawyer can help assure that their rights are protected and that the agreement is valid and legally enforceable in California.

Source: PrenuptialAgreements.org, "Prenuptial agreement California," Accessed Oct. 24, 2017

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