Premarital Agreement Appeal
Premarital agreements are a complicated area of family law. Some background on the California Family Code sections which govern premarital agreements is useful to understand the basic genesis of San Diego or greater California premarital agreement appeal. From the inception of its statehood, California has retained the community property law that predated its admission to the Union, and consistently has provided as a general rule that property acquired by spouses during marriage, including earnings, is community property. At the same time, applicable statutes recognized the power of parties contemplating a marriage to reach an agreement containing terms at variance with community property law. Thus, according to Family Code section 1500, the property rights of spouses prescribed by statute may be altered by a premarital agreement or other marital property agreement.
It is noteworthy that the laws governing the validity and enforcement have changed over the years and which law may be applicable turns on the date of execution. According to the California Family Code now in effect, parties to a premarital agreement may contract with respect to all of the following:
1) The rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located.
(2) The right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property.
(3) The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event.
(4) The making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement.
(5) The ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy.
(6) The choice of law governing the construction of the agreement.
(7) Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.
(b) The right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.
(c) Any provision in a premarital agreement regarding spousal support, including, but not limited to, a waiver of it, is not enforceable if the party against whom enforcement of the spousal support provision is sought was not represented by independent counsel at the time the agreement containing the provision was signed, or if the provision regarding spousal support is unconscionable at the time of enforcement. An otherwise unenforceable provision in a premarital agreement regarding spousal support may not become enforceable solely because the party against whom enforcement is sought was represented by independent counsel.
However, California Family Code section 1615 provides that some agreements are unenforceable. A premarital agreement is not enforceable if the party against whom enforcement is sought proves either of the following:
(1) That party did not execute the agreement voluntarily.
(2) The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed and, before execution of the agreement, all of the following applied to that party:
(A) That party was not provided a fair, reasonable, and full disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party.
(B) That party did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided.
(C) That party did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.
(b) An issue of unconscionability of a premarital agreement shall be decided by the court as a matter of law.
(c) For the purposes of subdivision (a), it shall be deemed that a premarital agreement was not executed voluntarily unless the court finds in writing or on the record all of the following:
(1) The party against whom enforcement is sought was represented by independent legal counsel at the time of signing the agreement or, after being advised to seek independent legal counsel, expressly waived, in a separate writing, representation by independent legal counsel.
(2) The party against whom enforcement is sought had not less than seven calendar days between the time that party was first presented with the agreement and advised to seek independent legal counsel and the time the agreement was signed.
(3) The party against whom enforcement is sought, if unrepresented by legal counsel, was fully informed of the terms and basic effect of the agreement as well as the rights and obligations he or she was giving up by signing the agreement, and was proficient in the language in which the explanation of the party's rights was conducted and in which the agreement was written. The explanation of the rights and obligations relinquished shall be memorialized in writing and delivered to the party prior to signing the agreement. The unrepresented party shall, on or before the signing of the premarital agreement, execute a document declaring that he or she received the information required by this paragraph and indicating who provided that information.
(4) The agreement and the writings executed pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (3) were not executed under duress, fraud, or undue influence, and the parties did not lack capacity to enter into the agreement.
(5) Any other factors the court deems relevant.
Again, the law applicable to premarital agreements is vast. The San Diego or greater California premarital agreement appeal may arise when either party disagrees with the court’s order. The order may revolve around validity, interpretation, or other considerations. I represent both appellants and respondents on appeal. For appellants, the first steps I take are to determine whether the judgment or order is appealable, whether the appeal is merited, and cost versus benefit. For respondents I utilized the appellate rules to obtain an affirmance. If you wish to discuss your premarital agreement appeal please contact me so we can discuss whether an appeal is merited.
Viewing the presentations, articles, other content, or contacting me/you through my web site does not establish an attorney client relationship. I will not file a notice of appeal nor calculate the time in which a notice of appeal must be filed by until I have received a signed retainer agreement. Warning, the time from which to file a notice of appeal is statutory. The time in which you have to appeal may pass between when you first contact me and when an attorney client relationship is formed upon when I receive a signed retainer agreement . Until a retainer agreement is signed and received by me, it is YOUR responsibility to insure your appeal is filed within the statutory period. The articles on this website are not legal advice and should not be used in lieu of an attorney. The accuracy of articles and information on this site cannot be relied upon.