On behalf of Law Offices of Kathleen G. Alvarado posted in family law on Friday, March 9, 2018.

As is the case in other states, Riverside, California, residents who are planning to tie the knot have the option of signing a prenuptial agreement together. Couples may choose to take this important legal step for a number of reasons, but the general idea is that a prenuptial agreement facilitates a smooth disposition of property once the marriage ends, either through death or divorce.

While a family law attorney is the best resource when it comes to drafting a prenuptial agreement, it is still helpful for Californians to understand the minimum legal requirements necessary to create a valid prenuptial agreement. After all, courts tend to take a more watchful eye toward these sorts of agreements than, for example, a contract between two businesses.

For one, each party has to enter in to the agreement with full knowledge both of what the other party’s overall financial situation is and how the agreement will actually affect each person’s rights with respect to the other party’s assets and debts.

By way of example, if a person is going to wind up with less property by signing a prenuptial agreement than they would under the provisions of California’s community property laws, then that person needs to know that. On a related point, the person cannot feel any undue pressure or coercion to sign the prenuptial agreement.

On a more practical level, to be enforceable, prenuptial agreements have to be in writing and signed by both parties. Each party must have at least a week to consider the agreement, and, with some exceptions, each party must have his or her own attorney look at the agreement separately. One attorney cannot represent both members of the soon-to-be couple in creating a prenuptial agreement.

Finally, with respect to scope, prenuptial agreements can only cover how a couple’s property will be disposed of at the end of a marriage. Questions of child custody and child support will remain vested with the court even if the agreement tries to address them.