In many divorce cases, the parties’ rights and obligations are delineated by a premarital agreement. Premarital agreements are typically enforced unless either party can show just cause for setting aside the agreement. Recently, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth District of California discussed the issue of what constitutes sufficient grounds for rendering a premarital agreement unenforceable due to unconscionability. If you entered into a premarital agreement prior to your marriage and are contemplating a divorce it is essential to speak with a trusted California divorce attorney regarding how the agreement may affect your rights.
Factual and Procedural Background
Reportedly, the husband and the wife, who are both architects, began corresponding in 1995, when the wife lived in Russia, and the husband lived in the United States. Later that year, the wife began working as an architect in Houston. She completed all of her architectural drafting in English. In the winter of 1995, the wife moved to California and became pregnant with the husband’s child. She gave birth to a daughter in September 1996. After the birth of her daughter, the wife wished to remain in the United States.
It is alleged that the couple decided to wed, but the husband stated he wished to enter into a premarital agreement prior to getting married. Specifically, the husband was concerned about having to pay spousal support if he and the wife divorced, and about the wife leaving the country and gaining rights to his property. The husband and the wife met with a paralegal and signed a boilerplate premarital agreement in October 1996. The paralegal advised the couple that the agreement had been drafted by an attorney and had them execute a document acknowledging that she was not giving them legal advice. In part, the agreement stated that in the event of a divorce, neither party would owe the other party spousal support. Continue reading →