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Prenuptial agreements in California are governed by California’s Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. You can find the official version here.
Under this act, a prenuptial agreeement California is known as a premarital agreement. Section 1610 of the California Family Law Code defines what a premarital agreement is – basically it is an agreement made by an engaged couple that will take effect when they get married. Section 1610 also defines what property is, and the definition is very broad, encompassing pretty much anything of value.
Under section 1611 of the California Family Law Code, a prenuptial agreement California must be in writing. Oral agreements are worth the paper that they are written on.
The next section, California Family Law Code section 1612, sets out what can and can’t be in a prenuptial agreement California. This is fairly similar to most other states. Generally any financial issue can be dealt with in a premarital agreement. Issues relating to children, including child support and custody are not permitted. Nor is one allowed to contract about obligations during the marriage, such as household chores, frequency of sexual relations, or penalties for adultery.
California has special provisions regarding spousal support in prenuptial agreements. Basically, provisions regarding spousal support will not be enforced unless the person whose receipt of spousal support is limited or waived had independent counsel before entering into the agreement. As well, provisions regarding spousal support will not be enforced if they are unconscionable at the time of enforcement. This means that it is impossible to determine in advance whether a spousal support provision will be enforceable when you separate, as your financial circumstances can change at any time.
Section 1613 of the California Family Law Code provides that a premarital agreement becomes effective upon marriage.
Under section 1614 of the California Family Law Code, you are allowed to amend or revoke your prenuptial agreement California after you get married, following similar procedures as the initial creation of the agreement.
Probably the most important part of the California Uniform Premarital Agreement Act is found in section 1615, which sets out when a prenuptial agreement California is enforceable, and when it isn’t. The usual caveats apply here: there must be financial disclosure, the premarital agreement must not be unconscionable, there must not be any coercion, and the parties must understand what they are signing. California requires that there be at least seven days between when a party is first presented with an agreement and when the agreement is signed.
The final two sections of the California Uniform Premarital Agreement Act are basically housekeeping provisions. Section 1616 of the California Family Law Code deals with what happens regarding a prenuptial agreement California if your marriage is void (i.e. what happens if your marriage is ended by annulment rather than by divorce). Section 1617 of the California Family Law Code ensures that the statute of limitations for actions regarding premarital agreements don’t run during the course of a marriage.