When is a premarital agreement unenforceable in dividing assets?

In California, a couple deciding to divorce often leads to a dispute over martial property and assets. What can make this even more complicated is if there was a premarital agreement formulated prior to the marriage. This can have a significant influence on equitable division. There are times when a premarital agreement is unenforceable. This can occur if certain factors are proven to have been in place. Those who believe they have been subjected to an unenforceable premarital agreement or have a spouse who claims that the document is unenforceable need to know what the criteria is to question it.

If the agreement was not entered into on a voluntary basis, it can be deemed unenforceable. The agreement might have been unfair when it was created and, prior to it being executed, the following factors were in place: the party did not receive a fair and complete disclosure of the other party's property and financial obligations; there was no voluntary written waiver to any right of disclosure of the financial obligations or property; and the party was not adequately knowledgeable regarding the financial obligations or property.

The following are important when determining whether or not the agreement was entered into voluntarily and it will not be seen as involuntary if the following occurred: the party had independent legal representation at the time of the agreement or waived that representation; the party had a minimum of seven calendar days from the time the agreement was presented and was advised to seek legal assistance at the time it was signed; the party, if not represented, was informed of the terms of the agreement and its rights and obligations; the agreement was not executed under fraud, undue influence, duress or a lack of capacity; and other factors that the court believes are important.

Those who believe that a premarital agreement they signed is unenforceable or have a premarital agreement that they think is enforceable and is called into question may need help. Getting more information about marital property and a division of assets in a divorce can be helpful with navigating this complicated legal terrain.