California’s Unique Prenup Rules

The new law, written in California’s Family Code § 1615 (c)(2)(B), covers prenuptial agreements executed on or after January 1, 2020. For individuals seeking prenups after this date, California requires that both parties wait seven days at minimum to review the terms before signing. This rule applies whether the parties have an attorney or not. If they sign the agreement before this seven day period, California considers it invalid. This means that the terms cannot be enforced.

What About Prenups Signed Before January 1, 2020?

If you sought out and had your spouse sign a prenuptial agreement before the law was enacted, the rules are slightly different. For prenups signed between January 1, 2002 and January 1, 2020, the requesting party was required to advise the respondent to seek independent legal representation and sign the agreement in no less than seven days. Essentially, this means that the 7-day rule for prenups in California could be waived if the respondent already had an attorney.

What if Our Wedding Is Before the 7-Day Waiting Period?

Regrettably, if your wedding is happening before the waiting period for prenups expires, you would not be able to sign the prenup. However, there are a couple of options you have in this scenario:

  1. Postpone the wedding and ensure the prenuptial agreement is properly executed in accordance with all necessary California requirements, including the seven day rule.
  2. Obtain a postnuptial agreement, also known as a postnup, which is similar to a prenup but is established after the wedding has taken place.

This is why we highly recommend starting the prenup process three to six months prior to your wedding. It helps avoid setbacks like this and gives you and your partner ample time to hash out the essential details.

What Other Factors Could Void a Prenup?

While the 7-day rule for prenups in California is important, it’s not the only part of the law. In fact, there are a number of instances where a prenup may be considered invalid. Here are some common reasons that a court may void a prenuptial agreement.

Unconscionable Terms

In the case of prenups, unconscionable terms are those that are considered to be morally offensive. This means that the court questions the circumstances under which the other party agreed to them. For instance, if the prenuptial agreement stipulates that one party retains all assets acquired before and during the marriage while the other party receives nothing in return, the court may choose not to enforce such an agreement.

So, how does this relate to the 7-day rule for prenups in California? Well, since the law prevents one party from pressuring the other to make a quick decision, it gives the respondent time to carefully consider the terms. Most importantly, it allows them to seek out the assistance of an attorney to ensure that the terms are fair. 

Signing Under Duress

For a prenuptial agreement to be legally binding, it must be willingly signed by both parties. If one spouse provides evidence of physical force or emotional manipulation that led to their signing of the prenup, California considers the agreement invalid. An example of this may involve one spouse threatening to call off the wedding unless the other agrees to sign the prenup.

Failure to Disclose Assets and Debts

One of the most important aspects of a prenup is honesty. This means that each party must disclose their assets and debts while negotiating the terms. Hiding assets or failing to disclose debts during this process can void the agreement. This is especially true if one spouse signs out of false pretenses.

Need Help Creating a Prenup in California? Cyrus Pacific Law Is Here to Help

To make sure your prenuptial agreement meets legal requirements, it’s advisable to seek guidance from a knowledgeable California prenup attorney. Likewise, your partner should consult their own experienced and independent attorney. At Cyrus Pacific Law, our legal professionals recognize the devastating impact a contentious divorce can have on individuals’ lives. They also understand the delicate nature of premarital agreements. Our team takes pride in diligently advocating for our clients’ interests while remaining fair and respectful of the best interests of your future spouse. Get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation.

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