If you have been divorced before, you know how much trouble can arise in even the most amicable of endings. Property division, alimony, child custody and more can all quickly get tangled up in litigation and your word against your spouse’s. That is, unless you drafted a prenuptial agreement.
Once frowned upon in the marital scene of America, prenuptial agreements – also called premarital agreements – are gaining in popularity. From people who marry with a significantly high estate value to those who just want some peace of mind in knowing that there is a safety net in place, you do not need to feel ashamed about drafting a prenuptial agreement. You do need to make certain it is done correctly, though, or else the whole thing could be determined invalid by the divorce court.
California’s Legal Statutes for Prenuptial Agreements
For about 30 years now, California State has adopted and followed the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) in regards to what constitutes a valid prenuptial agreement. UPAA states that an agreement will outline what to do with a married couple’s property, both collected before the marriage and during it. It does not allow one spouse or the other to take away a child’s need for support and it cannot take away the court’s ability to make a final ruling or verdict for child custody and visitation matters in a divorce.
Specific amendments were also added to UPAA in 2002. This portion of the legislation is meant to clearly and concisely state what is required to make a prenuptial agreement legally valid.
A prenuptial agreement may be deemed invalid if:
- Both spouses were informed of 100% of the other’s property and finances before signing.
- An entire week was granted to “think about” the agreement before signature was needed.
- Both spouses had ample time to retain a professional divorce attorney for legal counsel.
In addition to these amendments, UPAA also mandates that no clauses on spousal support in a prenuptial agreement can be deemed enforceable if the receiving spouse never had an attorney review the contract first.
From Invalid to Valid with Professional Help
A prenuptial agreement could be deemed invalid if it is fraudulent, signed without proper authority, or incorrectly filed. It can also be challenged in court if it is blatantly one-sided, such as ruling out child support payments altogether. If you think that your prenuptial agreement might not hold water later down the road, you should allow a family law attorney to review it. There is always the opportunity to revise it – with the consent of your spouse, of course – and restore its validity. Just in case.
If you are getting married and would like to safeguard you and your spouse’s futures from trouble, talk to our Riverside County divorce lawyers from Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich today. We can provide you with dedicated and experienced legal services, all focused on your comfort and best interests. Dial 951.687.6003 for a free consultation today.