MANY people are of the perception that simply downloading a prenuptial agreement from the internet and signing it with their fiance offers them a bullet proof protection from a divorce. What many people do not know is that certain statutory requirements must be met in order for the prenuptial agreement to be valid and to withstand attack in court by your future spouse’s lawyer.
Family Code Section 1615 provides that a prenuptial agreement is not enforceable if the party against whom enforcement is sought proves either of the following (1) that party did not execute the agreement voluntarily or (2) The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed and, before execution of the agreement, all of the following applied to that party: (A) That party was not provided a fair, reasonable, and full disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party. (B) That 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.(C) That party did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party. The issue of unconscionability shall be decided by the court as a matter of law.
A prenuptial agreement shall be deemed not executed voluntarily unless the court finds in writing or on the record all of the following: (1) The party against whom enforcement is sought was represented by independent legal counsel at the time of signing the agreement or, after being advised to seek independent legal counsel, expressly waived, in a separate writing, representation by independent legal counsel. The advisement to seek independent legal counsel shall be made at least seven calendar days before the final agreement is signed. (2) One of the following:(A) For an agreement executed between January 1, 2002, and January 1, 2020, the party against whom enforcement is sought had not less than seven calendar days between the time that party was first presented with the final agreement and advised to seek independent legal counsel and the time the agreement was signed. (B) For an agreement executed on or after January 1, 2020, the party against whom enforcement is sought had not less than seven calendar days between the time that party was first presented with the final agreement and the time the agreement was signed, regardless of whether the party is represented by legal counsel. (3) The party against whom enforcement is sought, if unrepresented by legal counsel, was fully informed of the terms and basic effect of the agreement as well as the rights and obligations the party was giving up by signing the agreement, and was proficient in the language in which the explanation of the party’s rights was conducted and in which the agreement was written. The explanation of the rights and obligations relinquished shall be memorialized in writing and delivered to the party prior to signing the agreement. The unrepresented party shall, on or before the signing of the premarital agreement, execute a document declaring that the party received the information required by this paragraph and indicating who provided that information. (4) The prenuptial agreement was not executed under duress, fraud, or undue influence, and the parties did not lack capacity to enter into the agreement.
Having both you and your fiance represented by separate counsel during the drafting and execution of your prenuptial agreement can help avoid any of the problems noted above which will can result in your prenuptial agreement being found to be invalid by the court during your divorce proceeding and your assets divided according to California community property law.
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Please note that this article is not legal advice and is not intended as legal advice. The article is intended to provide only general, non-specific legal information. This article is not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. This article does create any attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Offices of Kenneth U. Reyes, P.C. This article is not a solicitation.
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Attorney Kenneth Ursua Reyes is a Certified Family Law Specialist. He was President of the Philippine American Bar Association. He is a member of both the Family law section and Immigration law section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He is a graduate of Southwestern University Law School in Los Angeles and California State University, San Bernardino School of Business Administration. He has extensive CPA experience prior to law practice. LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH REYES, APLC is located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 747, Los Angeles, CA, 90010. Tel. (213) 388-1611 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our website at kenreyeslaw.com.