When planning your marriage, the thought of getting a prenuptial agreement may cross your mind. Sometimes, you might wonder if it’s even worth it to get a prenup. How long do they even last?
The quick answer is yes, it’s worth it to have the correct, legally-binding contracts in place to protect and secure your financial assets and property in the unfortunate case of a divorce.
Understanding Prenup Agreements
As briefly mentioned earlier, prenuptial agreements are contracts that provide California law a way to arrange and enforce property rights between future spouses. However, state law requires that certain guidelines be met to ensure that the contract is fair, agreed upon by both parties, and doesn’t violate any other policies.
You might use a prenuptial agreement to:
• Preserve property or an inheritance.
• Keep a family business with the spouse’s family of origin.
• Arrange property ownership for tax purposes.
• Eliminate or arrange terms of spousal support.
• Apply limitations on how much of a spouse’s separate assets the other would receive in a divorce.
California law requires that these guidelines be met for a valid prenuptial agreement:
• There should not be any terms of the agreement that affect child support payments.
Prenups must be in writing and signed by each party.
• Prenups to do favor one party over the other. There is no supporting idea of consideration, meaning that both parties should be able to agree on all terms rather than compromising greatly on another party’s terms.
• The parties may contract about almost anything, but not anything that violates the law.
• A provision about alimony (spousal support) is unenforceable if the party waiving rights was not represented by legal counsel or if the provision is completely unfair.
• A prenup must be executed voluntarily, meaning that there should be no outside influence or pressure from the other party when deciding on the contract.
How Long Do Prenuptial Agreements Last in California?
Did you know that your prenuptial agreement could be considered “silent?” According to our prenuptial and postnuptial agreement attorneys, it’s true. In legalese, this means that the contract failed to mention something, but the fact that that information isn’t there doesn’t make it invalid. For instance, your agreement could be silent when it comes to mentioning the length of the agreement, meaning it was never mentioned.
This still allows the agreement to be upheld in court, but it also means that the agreement lasts forever. The life of the contract may last forever, but that doesn’t mean that you and your partner can’t “kill it.” You can simply follow up that prenup with a secondary written agreement stating that the first one is no longer valid.
If a timeline is mentioned in the contract, of course, California Law will uphold that statement in court. This is typically known as a “sunset clause.” Some examples may be that you and your spouse agree that the prenup is valid the first decade or two of your marriage. It all depends on what you and your partner are comfortable with.
As you can tell, it’s important to make sure that you have everything listed within the agreement, guidelines are met, and even mention a timeline that you’re comfortable with or else you could sign in a contract that you actually don’t wish to be bound to. Hiring a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement lawyer can ensure that you agree to the terms of the contract through and through!