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The Uniform Premarital Agreement has been in force in California since 1986. Although the UPAA is effective throughout most of the country, various states have inserted their own rules within certain sections. California has established guidelines that dictate the terms the agreement can and cannot include.

What can and cannot be part of the agreement

In general, the parties to a California UPAA can use the agreement to deal with financial matters. Some states allow a couple to address broad subjects, including who should bear responsibility for various household chores and what kind of penalties apply if a spouse commits adultery. However, subjects like these, as well as terms pertaining to child support, custody and other matters concerning children, cannot become part of the California premarital agreement.

About spousal support

If spousal support in a California premarital agreement is either limited or waived entirely, the provision will not be enforced unless the spouse receiving alimony had independent counsel prior to signing the agreement. Furthermore, since financial circumstances change over time, it is not possible to make an advance determination as to whether this kind of provision is enforceable when the couple separates ahead of divorce.

The enforceable agreement

The terms of the California Uniform Premarital Agreement Act appear under the California Family Law Code. Section 1615 explains when an agreement is enforceable:

  •         The agreement must contain financial disclosures
  •         Coercion cannot be present
  •         Both parties must understand what they sign
  •         There must be seven days between the time of the presentation of the agreement and the signing of the agreement

Involuntary execution

A California premarital agreement must be in writing and contain clear language. The court may find the agreement was not executed voluntarily unless, at the time of the signing, legal counsel represented the signer against whom enforcement is sought or else the party waived the right to representation. If one party seeks enforcement of the agreement against the other, the latter must be fully informed of any rights and obligations relinquished under the agreement.

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