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Premarital Agreements

Taking Care of Legalities Before the Big Day

A premarital agreement needs to adhere to certain standards. We can help make sure all conditions are met and only allowable subjects are included.

Premarital, or prenuptial, agreements are becoming increasingly acceptable. It is worth considering one whether you are entering into a marriage with few assets between you or if either one of you, or both parties, already have considerable assets that are being brought into the marriage.

Essentially, a premarital agreement is a contract between couples about to be married. These contracts are primarily concerned with financial issues and how assets are to be divided, as well as the issue of spousal maintenance, in the event the marriage dissolves.

Does a Premarital Agreement Make Sense?

Unfortunately, at least half of all marriages end in divorce. To mitigate the possibility of litigation or disputes over the division of marital property and what it constitutes, an agreement can clearly set forth what property is whose and how debts are to be divided. In this manner, your separate or nonmarital assets can be fully protected or you can designate what is separate property.

As with any contract, especially one as important as this, you need competent and experienced legal representation. Call the Kearney Baker Law Offices to discuss your interest in a premarital agreement and for our attorneys to draft one or to review one that has already been prepared.

What Is Included in a Premarital Agreement?

A premarital agreement must adhere to the California Uniform Premarital Agreement Act and must be in writing. Regarding what is in a premarital agreement, it is important to understand what cannot be included in one; the agreement essentially deals with finances and is limited in other areas.

Your agreement cannot address the following:

  • Child support amount
  • Child custody
  • Frequency of sexual relations
  • Division of household chores
  • Consequences or penalties for adultery
  • Spousal support, unless under certain conditions

Your agreement becomes valid upon marriage. It can be modified, altered or amended during the marriage so long as you follow the same conditions required for its original formation.

Conditions for a Valid Agreement

Before you sign the agreement, there are certain conditions that must be followed:

  • Full disclosure of all assets
  • Provisions of the agreement cannot be unconscionable or grossly unfair to one party
  • No evidence of undue duress or coercion in forcing either party to agree to it
  • All parties are fully aware of and understand the provisions
  • At least 7 days must pass between the time the agreement is offered for review and for signature

Both parties should have their own legal counsel review the agreement and they should sign it with the provision that counsel has approved it or that the party has been fully briefed, clearly understands the implications and accepts them without any degree of coercion or undue influence exerted by anyone.

Spousal Maintenance in a Premarital Agreement

You can address the issue of spousal maintenance in a premarital agreement but only under certain conditions. If you limit the amount to be paid or simply state it is waived, that may not be enforceable. Also, if the marriage lasts for a number of years and one party earns considerable assets while the other stays at home or has held a much less lucrative job, then severely limiting spousal maintenance may be considered unconscionable.

You should at least have this issue specifically reviewed by independent counsel if you wish to have it included. Still, circumstances at the time of the dissolution may be such that it is now unenforceable.

Call the Kearney Baker Law Offices to discuss a premarital agreement with one of our highly skilled attorneys. We will fully advise you regarding the provisions you want in your agreement as well as their validity and enforceability. Avoid future disputes and litigation with a well-drafted agreement by one of our family lawyers.