A prenuptial agreement—typically created before a wedding date is even set—can pose serious problems for one or both sides during divorce. Whether the prenup is valid or invalid, having one can lead to more stress than you need. Most people choose to work with prenuptial agreement attorney in Stockton in each scenario because having a lawyer who understands the consequences (and the potential complications) a prenup can cause is extremely helpful.
What Makes a Prenuptial Agreement Invalid in California?
A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people that outlines what will happen to their property, assets, and debts in the event that they divorce. Many prenups also contain other information, such as stipulations about alimony.
However, these types of contracts, which are also called premarital agreements, must meet legal requirements to be valid under California law. A premarital agreement may be invalid if:
- It was not signed by both parties prior to the marriage
- One party was pressured to sign it
- One party didn’t read it thoroughly or didn’t have adequate time to consider it before signing; the law requires a seven-day waiting period after a person is presented with the agreement before signing
- It contains invalid provisions, such as requiring different child support obligations than the law allows (although the court might choose to only strike the sections that violate California law while leaving the rest intact)
- It contains incomplete information, which is similar to containing false information under the law
- It is grossly unfair to one spouse, leaving him or her facing severe financial or other hardship while the other suffered no such hardship
In California, both parties don’t have to be represented by an attorney before signing a prenuptial agreement. However, the non-represented spouse-to-be must sign a written acknowledgement that he or she was advised to get a lawyer but has chosen not to.
The Positive Side of Having a Prenuptial Agreement
If you have a valid prenuptial agreement in place, or even a post-nuptial agreement (one that you and your spouse signed after you married), you won’t have to go through the negotiation process during property division.
A valid, fair prenuptial agreement can take stress out of the divorce process. You already know which assets and debts are going to which party, and there’s no need to hammer out any details.
The Negative Side of Having a Prenuptial Agreement
If you signed a prenuptial agreement but your circumstances have changed, you may not feel the same about what it contains as you did when you signed it. You may feel now that you “threw away” rights that you shouldn’t have, or that the terms have become increasingly unfair to you over time… and all of that may be true.
However, it’s still a signed contract.
Can a Lawyer Fight a Prenuptial Agreement in California?
Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may be able to fight your prenuptial agreement in court. If any of the conditions that render the agreement invalid are present, or if your circumstances have changed since signing it, your lawyer can present an argument to the judge in your case.
The judge will consider several factors in determining whether the agreement is valid or if it’s even fair—and in some cases, the entire agreement can be thrown out.
Do You Need to Talk to a Prenup Lawyer in Stockton?
Whether your premarital agreement is valid or invalid, our team of Stockton, CA family law attorneys may be able to help you.
Call us at 209-910-9865. We’ll be able to provide you with case-specific legal advice so you can begin moving forward again.