Can a California Divorce Court Judge Ignore a Prenuptial Agreement?
When couples get married, they may choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement, also known as a premarital agreement, which outlines the terms of their financial arrangement in the event of a divorce. In California, prenuptial agreements are generally considered valid and enforceable, but there are certain circumstances in which a judge may choose to ignore the agreement.
Reasons a Judge May Ignore a Prenuptial Agreement in California
One of the most common reasons a judge may choose to ignore a prenuptial agreement is if the agreement is found to be unenforceable. This can happen if the agreement is found to be invalid due to fraud, duress, undue influence, or if it was not executed properly. For example, if one spouse was forced to sign the agreement under duress or if the agreement was not notarized, a judge may choose to ignore the agreement.
Another reason a judge may choose to ignore a prenuptial agreement is if the agreement is found to be unconscionable. An agreement is considered unconscionable if it is so one-sided or unjust that it would be against public policy to enforce it. For example, if the agreement leaves one spouse with nothing and the other with all the assets, a judge may find it unconscionable and choose to ignore it.
In addition, a judge may also choose to ignore a prenuptial agreement if it does not provide for the needs of one of the spouses, such as spousal support or child support. California law requires that a prenuptial agreement must be fair and reasonable at the time it is executed, and it must not leave one spouse without the means to support themselves. If the agreement does not provide for the needs of one spouse, a judge may choose to ignore it and make an award of support.
Lastly, a judge may choose to ignore a prenuptial agreement if it is found to be invalid due to changes in circumstances. For example, if the agreement was based on a certain financial situation, but that situation has changed, a judge may choose to ignore the agreement and make a different division of assets.
Hire a California Prenuptial Agreement Attorney
One of the best ways to ensure your prenuptial agreement remains enforceable should you and your spouse ever divorce is to hire an attorney. A California prenuptial agreement attorney can ensure that a prenuptial agreement is enforceable by taking certain steps during the drafting and execution process.
First, the attorney will ensure that both parties fully understand the terms and consequences of the prenuptial agreement. This includes explaining the rights and obligations of each party, as well as the potential impact on property and support in the event of a divorce. The attorney will also make sure that both parties have had ample time to review the agreement and ask questions before signing it.
Secondly, the attorney will make sure that both parties have voluntarily entered into the agreement. This means that neither party was forced or coerced into signing the agreement and that they both had the capacity to understand and agree to the terms. The attorney will also make sure that the agreement is not one-sided or unconscionable and that it is fair and reasonable at the time it is executed.
Thirdly, the attorney will make sure that the prenuptial agreement is properly executed. This means that the agreement is signed by both parties and notarized. The attorney will also make sure that both parties have received independent legal advice before signing the agreement.
Finally, the attorney will make sure that the prenuptial agreement is properly disclosed and that both parties fully understand the nature, extent and value of the assets that are being covered in the agreement.
Are you thinking about entering into a prenuptial agreement with the assistance of a California prenuptial agreement lawyer? If so, Baghdaserians Law Group is here to help. Learn more by contacting us online or calling us at (626) 460-9525.