Can You Get a Prenup Without a Lawyer?
A prenuptial agreement (aka antenuptial, premarital agreement or prenup for short) is a contract between two people who are about to get married.
Why Should I Put a Prenuptial Agreement in Place?
Prenups aren’t just reserved for wealthy people. In a Rocketlawyer.com article, a prenup is said to have the power to shield you from responsibility for your spouse’s debts and even forestall arguments in divorce.
In a prenup, you would:
- Decide how your assets are passed on
- Document property ownership details
- List out the separate property that each of you owns
- Determine the ownership of the real property, assets and income that are gained in wedlock.
- Make decisions on how you and your spouse’s finances should be handled in various scenarios.
At Times, prenups in California differ from marriage and divorce laws
California legislation dictates the respective rights and obligations of spouses. Nevertheless, certain marital rights can be renegotiated and modified by contract. Engaged couples can decide in advance the terms of their property shares during their marriage or, if it should come to it, their divorce.
Terms can, for the eventuality of the unfortunate death of a spouse, also be spelled out in the contract.
At times, prenups in California differ from marriage and divorce laws. Agreed upon terms can diverge from the present default procedure under the state legislation.
How Can I Be Certain That My Prenup is Valid?
For a prenup to be considered valid:
- It must be in writing,
- It must be signed by both spouses voluntarily
- The prenup is only valid after the date of marriage.
If the marriage gets annulled, your prenup could in actuality be impossible to enforce, or enforcement may only be possible to a limited extent.
Undue Influence in Prenups
Because of the special, intimate kinship between husbands and wives, any discussion of a prenup can raise the suspicion of undue influence. This presumption could prove advantageous to either party who may want to challenge the legal validity of the prenup down the line.
The California Family Code states that the intimate, fiduciary connection between spouses “imposes a duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing on each spouse.”
Family court judges have the power to sanction any violation of fiduciary obligation by awarding the whole value of an undisclosed asset in a divorce to the spouse that was deceived about it.
The Limits of a Prenup
Important limitations exist to the authority of prenups:
- The California Family Code says about Child Support: “[t]he right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.”
- A judge will only enforce clauses in a prenup that limit spousal support if the spouse whose rights have been diminished had the opportunity to retain their own legal representation at the time they signed.
- If the courts find that the prenup contains waiver of spousal support unconscionable, they can decide not to uphold it and award support to the affected party.
- Any agreement that necessitates that one or both of the future spouses commit crimes or otherwise violate laws or public policy cannot be valid.
- Certain life-style clauses, such as those addressing non monetary details like visits from in-laws or how often you have sex usually cannot be enforced by courts.
Can You Get a Prenup Without a Lawyer?
The short answer is yes, you can get a prenup without a lawyer. As with any contract, it is possible to create a prenuptial agreement on your own. Templates that you can use for creating a prenup can be had for little or no money. The real question is whether or not you’re getting a prenup that can be enforced under the laws of the jurisdiction you’re in.
Be advised that every jurisdiction has different statutory and case law that pertain to what is and is not allowable in prenups, and only an experienced attorney would know and understand what these are to advise you.