Exclusive Details About California Prenuptial Agreement Requirements
Sure, no one anticipates a divorce, but if things go sour and you find yourself in that stage, you should ensure that your financial future is secure. And there is no better way to ensure this than by signing a prenuptial agreement. If you wish to sign a prenuptial agreement in California but are unsure of where to start, keep reading for more details.
What is a California Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement or prenup is a contract between two individuals planning to marry. In the document, the spouses spell out how they want financial issues to be handled in the event of a divorce or death. Such aspects include property division, insurance benefits and alimony.
What is Included in a Prenuptial Agreement in California?
A prenup is primarily initiated to address couples' financial and property-related concerns and desires. It outlines each party’s property rights in marriage in case of separation, divorce or death of a partner. You should note that a prenuptial agreement does not show mistrust between couples or preparation for future divorce. On the contrary, the contract helps avoid conflicts if the unexpected happens, saving you from lengthy court hearings. It is also a way of protecting your kids' inheritance from a previous marriage.
Prenups predetermine what will happen to the properties, real estate, life insurance, and money you had before marriage and those acquired during the marriage. It also dictates how you wish to repay debts, both personal and the loans acquired as a couple.
Ensure to indicate if you wish to retain your retirement accounts after divorce. Also, if one of you will be paying the other one alimony or spousal support, be sure to include that in the prenup and do it in detail, including the amount and the duration. Some agreements may also refuse alimony, which is legal, provided both parties agree to it voluntarily.
A prenuptial agreement in California also includes details about each party's roles, rights, and obligations in the marriage, as long as the terms do not violate public law. As such, it is best to seek legal counsel from a reputable attorney to ensure you don’t include anything that violates public policy.
Prenuptial Agreement Laws in California
California applies the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which requires the contract in writing. Both spouses should sign it for it to be valid. Although notarization is not mandatory, it is highly recommended. The prenup only becomes effective when the couple marries.
The prenup can cover both the spouses' rights to their present and future property, but it should not touch on children's support and custody.
Requirements for California Prenuptial Agreement Enforcement
A prenup is only enforceable under general contract law principles if it does not violate any requirements. For starters, the contract requires consent, meaning that the spouses must be in good mental states when signing. They should do it voluntarily in the absence of inappropriate influence or fraud. The prenup will only be enforced if:
- Both spouses reveal adequate information regarding their financial situation and debts
- There was enough time left (at least seven days) between the day of receiving the contract and signing
- The spouses met their legal representatives for document review and guidance
- None of the spouses feels like their interests were not considered when making the property division conditions
Failure to meet any requirements may result in court refusal or fines for violations. It will help to have the agreement reviewed over and over by a legal expert before handing it over for enforcement.
To get started, download a free California prenuptial agreement form from our website.