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San Jose Family & Divorce Lawyers / Blog / Prenuptial Agreements / How Do Prenups Work in California? When Are They Not Valid?

How Do Prenups Work in California? When Are They Not Valid?

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While it might seem counterintuitive to plan for divorce before getting married, the reality is that prenuptial agreements can be extremely helpful for many California couples, especially those where one spouse brings more wealth or debt to the marriage than the other. Prenups can protect you during asset division in a divorce and can outline how the finances will be handled during the marriage.

The talented prenup lawyers at Argyris Mah, LLP are happy to evaluate your unique situation to help you understand your options regarding prenups. We have vast experience assisting couples in developing legally sound prenuptial agreements that protect each individual both during and after marriage. Call 408-214-6366 today to schedule a initial consultation.

Why Some Couples Choose a Prenup

Contrary to popular belief, prenups can be helpful for prospective married couples from all walks of life; prenups are not just for the super-wealthy! A prenuptial agreement is especially beneficial when one marital partner brings more wealth or debt to the marriage than the other person. Prenups help establish separate property so certain assets are not divided should a divorce occur.

Requirements for a Prenup

There are certain requirements for a prenup to be considered legally binding in California. Some of these requirements include:

  • Both spouses have had time to study and understand the prenuptial agreement.
  • The document was signed with full awareness of what it includes and under no improper influence.
  • The prenup is a written agreement signed by both parties.
  • The terms of the prenup are lawful.

Common Parts of a Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial agreements typically include items such as:

  • How property will be divided in case of a divorce
  • Specification of certain assets as separate property, not to be divided in a divorce
  • Terms for spousal support
  • Identification of parties responsible for debt payment
  • Financial responsibilities during the marriage, such as disclosure of financial decisions and management of the household budget

What Does a Valid Prenup Not Include?

Some items may not be included in a valid California prenup. These include:

  • Decisions regarding child support, as these are highly complex and will be decided by California courts in case of a divorce
  • Non-financial demands, such as requiring a spouse to maintain a specific physical appearance, such as losing weight
  • Requirements for a spouse to commit illegal acts

For help determining whether the items in your prenuptial agreement are valid, please consult an experienced legal professional like those at Argyris Mah, LLP. We have helped countless clients create valid prenuptial contracts that work for their circumstances and protect both spouses in case of a divorce.

When Is a California Prenup Invalid?

Many people try to create a prenup without the assistance of legal professionals, only to find that when the time comes to execute the agreement, it is not legally valid. California’s Uniform Premarital Agreement Act states that if a party “did not execute the agreement voluntarily” or if either spouse had less than seven calendar days to review the document, it may be considered invalid. To protect yourself and your loved ones, you should work with a lawyer to write a legally binding prenup.

Verbal Contracts

California law requires prenuptial agreements to be written and signed. Verbal prenups are not likely to hold up in court and could result in the entire agreement being invalid. To create a legally binding prenup, consult an attorney about your specific circumstances and ensure your prenup is executed correctly under the law.

Inclusion of Illegal Items

While including certain items might not render the entire prenup invalid, these aspects of a prenuptial agreement cannot be enforced by law. For example, any decisions regarding child support are not allowable under California law. Additionally, requests to perform illegal or immoral acts in a prenup cannot be enforced.

Improper Influence

Another reason a prenup could be declared invalid is if either party signed due to improper influence. This includes fraudulent signing or a person being unaware of what they are signing. Under California law, both spouses should have a reasonable amount of time to study the document before signing.

Should You Hire Our Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys?

Entering a marriage can be exciting but risky, especially if you have worked hard to develop your net worth. You may worry that the wealth you bring into the marriage will be at risk if your spouse divorces you at a later date. You may also want financial protection if your spouse brings a great deal of debt into the marriage.

The good news is that in California, you can create a prenuptial agreement to give you legal protection in case you get divorced. Your prenup can offer you peace of mind as you move forward into a new phase of life. However, you should have legal help when creating a prenup so the document is legally sound.

At Argyris Mah, LLP, we understand the complex emotions surrounding family law issues. We promise to listen carefully to your concerns so we can develop strong legal documents that meet your needs and goals. We are also happy to help adjust prenuptial agreements or create postnuptial agreements if you are already married.

Don’t spend any more time wondering whether a prenup is right for you. Give us a call right away to discuss your unique circumstances with our talented legal team. We offer initial consultations, so you have nothing to lose by reaching out to us at 408-214-6366.

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