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San Jose Divorce Attorney > Blog > Prenuptial Postnuptial Agreement > Prenuptial Agreements And The Duty Of Spouses To Support Each Other

Prenuptial Agreements And The Duty Of Spouses To Support Each Other


You can agree to almost anything, but that does not always mean that the court will enforce it.  Numerous court decisions in California case law assert that the state is a party in divorce cases, and therefore the court, as a representative of the state, has the right to protect its own interests.  Couples have great flexibility in choosing the terms of their prenuptial agreements; they can choose to divide, or not to divide, their property in almost any way they see fit.  One of the most common provisions that couples include in prenups is a provision to the effect that neither spouse will request spousal support if the parties divorce.  In a divorce case, the court must decide on a case-by-case basis whether the prenuptial agreement is enforceable.  Courts determine that prenups are invalid if one party signed it under duress (such as a husband presenting his wife with a prenup a short time before the wedding and threatening to cancel the wedding if she does not sign).  They can also refuse to enforce the support provisions of a prenup if its terms are unconscionable, which is to say, extremely unfair.  If you have questions about a prenup that you plan to sign or have already signed, contact a San Jose prenuptial agreement lawyer.

Pregnant Wife Waives Spousal Support in Prenup, but Then Needs It to Care for Son With Special Needs

Raymond and Roberta’s marriage was a second marriage for both of them; she did not want to live together without getting married, and he did not want to get married without a prenuptial agreement.  Before their wedding in August 1985, Raymond hired a lawyer to draft a prenup, and he presented it to Roberta less than a week before the wedding, and Roberta, who was pregnant and did not wish to delay the wedding, signed it without reviewing it with her own lawyer.  The agreement said that both parties waived the right to alimony; Roberta agreed to this condition, since both parties were employed, although Raymond’s income was much higher.

The parties’ son was diagnosed with fragile X syndrome and autism shortly after his birth.  About ten years into the marriage, Roberta left the workforce to care for him full-time.  The parties divorced when their son was in his early 20s, and the court ordered Raymond to pay spousal support, setting aside the support waiver in the prenup.  Another option in this case would have been to order Raymond to pay parental support for the young man, as family courts sometimes do in the case of the divorced parents of adults with disabilities.

Let Us Help You Today

Even the most airtight prenuptial agreement cannot protect you against changes in your health or that of your children.  A San Jose prenuptial & postnuptial agreement lawyer can help you if you signed a prenuptial agreement in much simpler times, but now circumstances have arisen that make it unconscionable to enforce the prenup.  Contact Foster Hsu for help today.



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