Certified Family Law Specialist, State Bar of California, and Board of Legal Specialization

Although no one wants to contemplate divorce when they are preparing to marry, entering a prenuptial or premarital agreement can be a critical step for individuals to protect themselves and their property rights. Prenuptial contracts are especially standard when couples already own significant assets, may receive substantial inheritances, or have children from previous relationships. An Agoura Hills prenuptial agreements lawyer could advise you of your rights and responsibilities under these contracts and help you draft one that is best for you and your situation.

Couples who have a prenuptial agreement in place can have some measure of financial certainty if they end up separated or divorced. Prenuptial agreements, when executed correctly, may safeguard various assets and some future contingencies, such as spousal support. A marital agreements attorney could explain the potential provisions that you may include in a prenup and help you determine which terms are right for you.

What Terms Are Included in Prenup Agreements?

The state legislature has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, found at California Family Code §1610 – 1617. This code defines premarital agreements as any contracts that prospective spouses enter in contemplation of marriage, and that they intend to become effective upon their marriage. 

Premarital agreements also must be in writing and signed by both parties. After a couple gets married, parties cannot amend or revoke these agreements unless they do so in writing. Premarital agreements may cover various issues, but some of the subjects commonly covered in these contracts may include:

  • Property rights and obligations of both parties
  • Division of property upon dissolution, separation, death, or any other designated event
  • The execution of wills, trusts, and other documents to carry out the agreement
  • Other personal rights and obligations that do not violate public policy

Although prenups may address spousal support issues, they cannot address child support or other issues related to the custody and visitation arrangements. Therefore, the scope of enforceable prenuptial agreements is limited to some degree. An Agoura Hills lawyer could draft a prenuptial agreement that meets the objectives of the parties within the bounds of state law.

The Validity of Prenuptial Contracts in Agoura Hills

Many situations may cause a prenup to become invalid. For instance, if a court finds that the agreement is unconscionable as a matter of law, the court may invalidate the contract. Unconscionability only exists if:

  • One of the parties did not fully disclose all property and assets
  • One of the parties could not have reasonably had any knowledge of the existing property and debts, and 
  • The affected party did not waive in writing the right to disclosure of property and liabilities beyond what the other party provided.

A court also may find a premarital contract to be unenforceable if a party did not execute the agreement voluntarily. State law considers a prenup to be involuntary if one party did have independent legal counsel. An Agoura Hills attorney could ensure that all legal requirements are satisfied in the execution of a prenup so that it is legally valid and enforceable.

Call an Agoura Hills Prenuptial Agreements Attorney

Parties typically enter into prenuptial contracts when they want to protect their property and finances in the event of divorce. As these contracts are subject to strict requirements of enforceability, consulting an Agoura Hills prenuptial agreements lawyer before signing them can be crucial.

Legal counsel could help you draft a fair and legally enforceable premarital agreement. Without legal advice, you run the risk of being without the financial protections that you were seeking in executing the agreement. For help with your prenup, call today.

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