The division of community property in divorce can be a tedious and contentious process. The parties must identify, characterize, and place a value on all assets that may be subject to division. To avoid this task, couples often choose to prepare a prenuptial agreement in advance of the marriage, a document that sets out how any existing and future assets will be treated should the couple get divorced. Alternatively known as an “ante-nuptial agreement,” this document also allows the parties to preserve their separate interests in certain assets. It is not uncommon for one party or the other to question the validity and enforceability of a prenuptial agreement. In order to ensure that the document is prepared and executed in compliance with California law, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney from the San Diego area.
In a recent divorce case, the wife challenged the trial court’s determination that the couple entered into a valid and enforceable prenuptial agreement. Here, the parties were married in 1995 and separated in 2001. At the time of their marriage, the wife seemed to be the spouse with more financial stability. She was a successful and talented artist, owned her own home, had a large retirement fund, and earned considerably more than her husband. His career was not as lucrative, but he got a job right before signing the prenuptial agreement that provided health insurance.
According to the husband, the couple agreed to execute a prenuptial agreement because the wife had already been divorced twice, and she did not want to “co-mingle” their assets and income. They each signed the agreement and initialed the bottom of each page, and a notary signed and acknowledged the document. In 1995, the husband began working for Microsoft and earned a significant amount of money over the next 13 years. The couple separated in 2001, and since then they have lived apart. The husband filed for divorce in 2012, and in 2013 he sought an order from the court that no community property existed due to the prenuptial agreement.