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ENFORCEABILITY OF PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

In 1976 the California Supreme Court in the landmark decision of In Re Marriage of Dawley in which California’s Supreme
Court recognized that prenuptial agreements that contemplated divorce were not invalid per se and against public policy
but should be reviewed on a case by case basis to determine if they promoted marital breakdown. In 1986 California took
another important step in recognizing the validity of prenuptial agreements by adopting its version of the Uniform Premarital
Agreement Act which was further amended in 2002. This Act is now adopted in twenty four other states. The current version
of California’s Premarital Agreement Act is contained in Family Code sections1600-1617.

In order to ensure its enforceability any attorney drafting a prenuptial agreement (also referred to an antenuptial or
premarital agreement) should be familiar with the provisions of California’s Premarital Agreement Act and the case law.
For prenuptial agreements executed after January 1, 2002, the Family Code provides that an agreement will not be
enforceable if either (1) the agreement was involuntary or (2) the agreement was unconscionable and there was no
adequate disclosure or (3) the agreement violates public policy.

The following general conclusions can be learned from these requirements which are discussed in more detail below:

• Both parties should be represented by independent counsel
• Never wait until just before the wedding to sign a prenuptial agreement
• Always provide full, fair and reasonable disclosure of all income, assets and liabilities of both sides
• Ensure that the agreement is fair and does not leave one party without any means of support in the event of divorce

We take pride in efficiently representing clients throughout California who wish to enter into prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. The entire process can be handled over the phone. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys, please fill out our potential client intake questionnaire or contact us at (949) 478-4401.

Initial telephone consultations are free of charge.

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