When two people are in love and getting married, formalities are usually the last thing on their minds. However, marriage, as well as being a sign of commitment and love, is also a formal agreement.
The legal rights of both spouses will change significantly once they have tied the knot. In the event of a divorce, both parties will receive their share of the marital property, which, in California, is defined as being all property acquired during marriage, including all earnings from employment. When getting married, it’s important to cover all angles and protect yourself. A prenuptial agreement can help you to do this. Essentially, a prenup is an agreement on property division. This means that in the event of a divorce, items included in the prenup will not be disputed.
However, prenups must follow certain protocols. The following factors could result in an invalid agreement.
1. If the agreement is manifestly unfair
Fairness is a pivotal aspect of family law in California. While a prenup can protect your rights, it should not unfairly expose your spouse to financial or legal hardships. If a prenuptial agreement contains provisions that are manifestly unfair, then the court may deem it to be invalid.
2. If it was not signed willingly
As with any legal contract, parties should enter without duress and they should also have a full understanding of the terms and potential consequences. If one party has been forced or manipulated into signing the document and there is evidence of this, the court is likely to disregard the agreement.
3. Failure to follow formalities
There are many formalities that must be followed in order for a prenup to maintain its validity. First, the finalized version must be presented at least 7 days prior to the marriage. Also, it is important for both parties to be represented by an attorney or for the agreement to have a specific provision if either or both parties chose not to use an attorney.
Prenups are an effective tool but they need to be valid to protect you. Having legal guidance as you draft an agreement will help ensure that it is watertight.