Many engaged couples are hesitant to consider the end of a marriage that has not yet begun, but it is important for people to take the steps necessary to protect their financial health in the event of a divorce. Premarital agreements allow spouses to enter into a marriage with the peace of mind that, should the marriage end, the process of dividing assets and property and determining support obligations should be relatively seamless, and any wealth accrued prior to the marriage will be protected. If you plan to get married, the skillful San Jose premarital agreement lawyers at Daprile-Bell Family Law Offices can guide you through the process of developing a thorough and fair premarital agreement that aims to safeguard your rights. We assist people throughout Silicon Valley with family law issues, including developing premarital agreements for people with significant assets who are employed by technology companies from Santa Cruz to San Francisco.Requirements for a Legally Binding Premarital Agreement
California has enacted a Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which sets forth the requirements for a valid premarital agreement and limits the provisions that a premarital agreement may contain. Essentially, a premarital agreement is a contract made prior to a marriage that becomes effective upon the marriage. Thus, premarital agreements, like many contracts, must be in writing and must be signed by both parties to be enforceable. Unlike other contracts, however, premarital agreements do not require the exchange of any consideration or money to be enforceable. If a couple wishes to revoke or amend a premarital agreement after they are married, they can do so only via a written agreement.
A premarital agreement will not be enforced if a court determines that the agreement was not executed voluntarily or that it is unconscionable. The premarital agreement attorneys at our San Jose firm can explain whether this is likely in your case. Factors that a court will weigh in determining whether an agreement was executed voluntarily include whether the party contesting the enforcement of the agreement was represented by independent counsel or executed a document stating that he or she fully understood his or her rights and obligations prior to entering into the agreement. A court may also consider the time between when the party received the agreement and when it was signed, and whether the agreement was signed under duress or due to fraud or undue influence, as well as any other factor that it deems relevant.
Even if a premarital agreement was executed voluntarily, a court might find the agreement to be unconscionable if either party did not provide his or her prospective spouse with a full, fair, and reasonable disclosure of his or her property, assets, and financial obligations, unless the prospective spouse voluntarily and knowingly waived the right to such a disclosure in writing.Terms Permitted in a Premarital Agreement
Our San Jose premarital agreement attorneys can help you devise a premarital agreement that contains provisions regarding each person’s obligations and rights regarding property and how property should be handled in the event of a separation, divorce, death, or any other event, as well as the right to sell, transfer, or otherwise manage or dispose of property. Premarital agreements may also contain provisions regarding any other matter, as long as this does not violate public policy or the law. Notably, however, premarital agreements may not adversely affect a child’s right to receive support or infringe on a court’s right to determine child custody or visitation. Additionally, provisions regarding spousal support are not enforceable if the person contesting enforcement was not represented by counsel or if a provision is deemed unconscionable.Meet with a Knowledgeable San Jose Lawyer
Engaged couples should contemplate entering into a premarital agreement prior to getting married to avoid protracted and combative litigation should they ever decide to divorce. At Daprile-Bell Family Law Offices, our knowledgeable family law attorneys help people protect their assets and interests by drafting comprehensive premarital agreements. Our premarital agreement lawyers are based in San Jose, and we help people with family law matters throughout Silicon Valley. We are available to meet remotely via Zoom and take steps to protect clients who wish to meet in our offices from COVID-19, including regularly sterilizing all areas, wearing masks, staggering appointments, and providing chairs on our porch for clients waiting for their appointments. You can reach us at (408) 918-0920 or through our online form to set up a meeting.