Prenup Attorney in Irvine

A prenuptial agreement is one form of marital agreement signed by both parties before they get married. It determines the various financial and property rights of both parties, and it becomes effective once the couple is married. A prenuptial agreement lists the responsibilities and rights of both parties to their separate assets and debts, as well as how marital property will be handled.

Common perception used to be that prenuptial agreements were only for incredibly wealthy individuals, particularly in marriages with a large financial gap. However, this has shifted over time. More people are aware that prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can benefit many couples, clearly determining each spouse’s rights and enabling a couple to discuss important financial matters early in their relationship. These agreements are only useful if they protect the rights of each party and are enforceable by the court.

The attorneys at The Goldberg Legal Group have supported and represented families in Irvine and Orange County for over 18 years. We understand the intricate requirements of family courts according to state, federal, and local laws. Every prenuptial agreement has unique requirements, and our attorneys have experience helping couples determine the provisions that address their needs. A prenuptial agreement can help partners create a strong foundation for their marriage and provide each with financial security. Our attorneys want to protect the rights of both parties during negotiations and help you make a legally valid contract tailored to your wishes.

Irvine Divorce Lawyer


What Do Prenuptial Agreements Cover?

The components of a prenuptial agreement are tailored to match the needs and properties of both parties. Every marriage and individual financial situation is unique, so every prenuptial agreement will be unique. Generally, a marital agreement manages spousal property rights in a marriage and plans for the potential of a divorce. Provisions in a prenuptial agreement may include:

  • The property that is considered separate or marital property during marriage and in the event of divorce
  • Addressing gaps in wealth or debt between spouses
  • Each spouse’s rights and responsibilities to shared and separate assets and debts
  • The rights of each spouse to property if one spouse dies
  • The financial care of elderly parents
  • The use of trusts or wills to determine inheritance rights or otherwise enforce the provisions of the prenuptial agreement
  • Listing the inheritance rights of the couple’s children and those from prior marriages
  • If spouses will enforce, waive, or place limits on spousal support in the event of divorce, which is only enforceable in certain circumstances

Any other relevant financial and property rights could be discussed in the agreement. There are some things that are not enforceable in a prenuptial or marital agreement, including child custody or personal preferences, such as requirements for one spouse to look or act a certain way. The court may refuse to enforce just those provisions, or they may decide to void the entire prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreement attorneys can help create an enforceable agreement, protecting the rights of both parties to prevent unconscionable provisions.

California Community Property Laws and Prenuptial Agreements

For many couples, the goal of a prenuptial agreement is to avoid state community property laws. In California, divorcing couples can get an uncontested divorce through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This gives them control over the outcome of their separation agreement and how property is divided. However, some couples cannot come to an agreement through ADR. If spouses can’t agree on certain provisions in the marital agreement, such as child support, spousal support, asset and debt division, and child custody, the court will decide. The court will also decide if couples obtain a contested divorce without attempting ADR.

When the court determines a couple’s separation agreement, property division is managed under community property laws. This means that each spouse has equal rights to all shared property or property gained during their marriage. The court aims for an equal split of assets and debts, regardless of outside circumstances in the marriage or each spouse’s amount of separate assets.

The most effective way to avoid property division by community property is to have a legally enforceable marital agreement. A marital agreement determines several issues that would be managed in a separation agreement. However, it is created during a less stressful and less potentially contentious time in a couple’s life.

Although not all aspects of a separation agreement can be covered by a prenuptial agreement, property division and certain spousal support provisions can. The agreement can determine what assets are classified as separate and marital, as well as how marital assets are split. As long as the court does not determine the terms to be unconscionable or otherwise unenforceable, the prenuptial agreement will govern the divorce process. This speeds up the process of divorce considerably, which saves couples stress, time, and money.

What Can’t Be Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?

There are certain provisions that can’t be included in a prenuptial agreement. These include:

  • Child custody and support. Parents cannot waive child support in a prenuptial agreement because support is the right of the child, not the parents. Child custody decisions are made based on the unique circumstances of a family at the time of a divorce, along with the needs and interests of the child. These choices can’t be made years in advance. The court decides custody and support based on what it believes is in the child’s interests.
  • Illegal provisions. A martial agreement can’t request that one spouse agree to or engage in any illegal activities. These provisions, if made, are unenforceable. They may invalidate the entire agreement.
  • Personal preferences. A prenuptial agreement can’t require one or both spouses to follow the nonfinancial personal preferences of the other spouse. Domestic provisions will not be enforceable, such as requirements about a spouse’s relationship with their family, their appearance, or how children are raised.
  • Provisions encouraging divorce. If a marital agreement includes anything that encourages or incentivizes a couple to divorce, it will not be enforceable.

What Makes a Prenuptial Agreement Legally Valid?

Prenuptial agreements are legal contracts and must adhere to contract law as well as certain requirements for marital agreements. Guidelines for prenuptial agreements in California are managed under the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA).

Basic contract law requirements for prenuptial agreements include:

  • Both parties consent to the terms of the agreement.
  • Both parties have the mental capacity and legal competence to consent to the agreement. They must understand the extent of their assets and the meaning of their relationships with others.
  • Both parties must sign the agreement willingly.
  • Each party has time to read, review, and understand the prenuptial agreement, ideally with legal counsel.
  • If one party has a native language other than English, they must be provided with a translation of the prenuptial agreement in their native language.
  • Prenuptial agreements signed under duress, force, undue influence, or as the result of fraud are not enforceable.

Other requirements for a valid agreement specific to prenuptial agreements include:

  • Each party provides a full and reasonable disclosure of their financial information to the other party. This includes assets, debts, income, property, and monetary obligations. Parties can waive this right to financial disclosure.
  • The agreement cannot be unconscionable or include unfair provisions. If the court sees evidence that one party entered negotiations with unequal bargaining power and/or that the agreement unfairly favors one party, it will be considered unconscionable and voided. If one party’s personal property is addressed and protected in an agreement while none of the other party’s property is, this may be considered unconscionable.
  • The agreement must have enforceable terms. It cannot include provisions for child custody, child support, or illegal activities.
  • Both parties have the opportunity to legal counsel while negotiating or reviewing the agreement. Parties can waive this right if they fully understand that they will not have protection.
  • Seven calendar days have passed from the day the final version of the marital agreement was presented and the day parties signed it.

Having a legally enforceable prenuptial agreement is essential. If you don’t take the steps to ensure that it is a valid agreement, you and your partner can waste time, energy, money, and other resources. It may not provide you each with inheritance rights or protections during marriage or in case of death. Additionally, if you and your partner get divorced, you will have spent time discussing these matters for nothing and have to work on a separation agreement from the beginning. If you are unable to reach an agreement, the court will have control over your divorce.

How Can a Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Help Me?

Although it is possible to waive your rights to legal counsel and create a prenuptial agreement alone, this is rarely a good idea for anyone. The agreement may be found unenforceable, wasting your efforts. However, there are cases where an unfair marital agreement is still upheld in court. If one party agrees to and is subject to unfair terms during a divorce, they could be left with few assets and no financial stability after the divorce.

By working with an attorney, you protect your rights while you and your partner create a prenuptial agreement. In most cases, parties receive the most benefits from a prenuptial agreement when they work together on its terms, discussing financial responsibilities and rights. Each party can be represented by an attorney who looks out for their interests and rights, using their full understanding of marital agreement laws in Irvine.

Experienced attorneys can also help parties mediate and find compromises in complicated financial matters. They also have additional resources to help the process go more smoothly, such as access to financial professionals. Working with an attorney can make creating an agreement faster and less stressful.

How Much Does a Prenup Cost in California?

A prenuptial agreement may range anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000, but it can even be as much as $10,000 or more. Working with an attorney can increase the costs of creating and filing a prenuptial agreement, but it also helps ensure that the effort of creating one is not a waste of each party’s time and resources.

Typically, drafting or reviewing a prenuptial agreement is charged as a flat fee. For ongoing mediation or especially complex agreements, it is more likely that an attorney will charge an hourly rate. An attorney’s costs also depend on their level of experience and how complicated your case is. If you or your partner have high-value or a large amount of complex assets, negotiations will likely take longer. This will also make attorney costs higher.

How Much Money Justifies a Prenup?

There is no set amount of money and assets an individual or couple has that indicates they need a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements are not only for the wealthy, but they are more common when parties have valuable or numerous assets and debts.

Whether a prenuptial agreement is worth it for a couple depends on their unique property and situation. If either party owns or has an interest in a business, a prenuptial agreement would be beneficial. A prenuptial agreement also benefits couples who have a significant gap in separate wealth or debts. An attorney can review your circumstances to determine if a marital agreement is appropriate for your situation.

What Is the 7-Day Rule for Prenups?

California imposes the 7-day rule for prenuptial agreements. This rule indicates the amount of time that parties must have to consider a finalized marital agreement before they sign it. This timeframe is provided for each partner to read the contract, review the terms, and consult legal counsel. Parties can waive their right to legal counsel, presuming they understand the significance of the waiver. A marital agreement is not valid if parties sign the agreement without taking 7 calendar days to consider the terms.

What Percentage of Married Couples Get a Prenup?

In the U.S., a survey in 2022 reports that 15% of married or engaged couples have gotten a prenuptial agreement. This has increased from 3% in 2010, and more couples support the idea of using a prenuptial or other martial agreement in the future. Marital agreements are not necessary for every marriage, but they can provide financial stability and other benefits. If you are unsure whether your marriage could benefit from a marital agreement, discuss your unique situation with an experienced prenuptial agreement attorney.

Work With Dedicated Attorneys for Your Prenuptial Agreement

When you need detailed and attentive legal care, contact The Goldberg Legal Group.

Irvine Neighborhoods We Serve

  • El Camino Real (92604)
  • Irvine (92618)
  • Northwood Pointe (92620)
  • Rancho San Joaquin (92612)
  • UC Irvine (92617)
  • Irvine (92606)
  • Irvine Business Complex (92614)
  • Orchard Hills (92602)
  • Shady Canyon (92603)

Related Irvine Divorce Pages