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The state of California is a community property state, which means that the majority of property acquired during the marriage is owned by both spouses and divided in a divorce or upon death. Prenuptial agreements in this state are covered under the California Family Code Section 1610-1617. Under Section 1610-1671, it states that premarital agreements are to be in writing and signed by both parties, and that they are enforceable without consideration.

What Does a Prenuptial Agreement Do?

A California premarital agreement generally goes over each party's rights and responsibilities in regards to any property that belongs to either or both parties and whenever or wherever the property was acquired or located. It also addresses each party's rights to the following actions regarding the said property:

Lease out
Otherwise manage

Spousal support, including a waiver of spousal support is not enforceable if the person was not represented by their own independent legal counsel at the time the agreement was signed, or if the spousal support provision was unconscionable at the time of the enforcement.

In the United States, prenuptial agreements are not allowed to dictate matters regarding children, especially as they pertain to child custody and visitation. Since circumstances can change dramatically as the years go by for a couple, the courts prefer to make a child custody decision based on the bests interests of the child.

Prenuptial agreements are powerful tools, especially in the state of California where if executed properly, they can be legally binding and upheld in the courts. The engaged couple is required to wait seven days after the premarital agreement is presented before signing; however, there is no requirement that says it has to be signed a certain number of days prior to the wedding.

A prenuptial agreement in California can waive one spouse's rights to property and it can set limits on spousal support providing they aren't unreasonable. It can also act as a contract where if one spouse dies they must provide for their spouse upon their death.