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Prenuptial Agreements

Negotiating and Preparing Prenuptial Agreements

Only an estimated 5% of married couples have a prenuptial agreement. By contrast, more than 50% of marriages end in divorce, which means that most divorcing spouses do not have the benefit of advance planning on property and other issues. While few people who marry expect to get divorced, it can be important to consider the legal arrangements that will apply during marriage and in the event of divorce or separation. This type of planning can improve communications and the overall relationship, as the newly-married couple will have given careful consideration to their priorities and goals for the marriage. 

Timing Considerations

In order to ensure that new spouses give thorough and careful consideration of their legal rights and options before marriage, California requires that a prenuptial agreement be negotiated, prepared and exchanged at least seven days before the wedding or date of marriage. All of the important terms and conditions must be negotiated and finalized at least one week before the marriage, or the prenuptial agreement may be considered invalid.  

Validity and Enforcement

In divorce cases where a prenuptial agreement exists, each divorcing spouse will need to carefully consider the impact of the prenuptial agreement and the potentially different interpretations that can be made, as well as possible limitations on enforcement of alimony waivers and other terms. When the prenuptial agreement was prepared in a different state or a foreign country, the parties must also consider choice-of-law and enforcement issues. Our attorneys regularly prepare, negotiate, interpret and enforce prenuptial agreements in the family courts, including a wide range of prenuptial and similar agreements from other states and foreign countries. 

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