Invalidating a Prenuptial Agreement by Cassandra Hearn

The beginning of a new marriage is an exciting time, during which you can plan for your future with your new spouse.  At the bright beginning of your marriage, you probably do not want to contemplate the end of the relationship by signing a prenuptial agreement.  However, in some cases, a prenuptial agreement may be a good way to manage expectations and specifically set out the rights and responsibilities of each party.  If the relationship falls apart, the prenuptial agreement can help speed the divorce by having a specific resolution for certain issues.  In this way, the parties can avoid going to court to fight over those issues.  Even with the best thought-out agreements, however, there can be times that one or both parties want to invalidate a prenuptial agreement.

If both parties want to invalidate the agreement, the parties may certainly agree to do so.  The court will not force the parties to follow through on a signed and valid pre-nuptial agreement when the parties both express a desire to abandon the contract.  The real complications come when one party wants to set aside the agreement, but the other party does not.

California law provides specific requirements must be met in order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid.  These factors include: 1) both parties must enter into the agreement voluntarily; 2) both parties must have independent counsel, or there must be a specific written waiver in the agreement; 3) the agreement cannot be grossly unfair; 4) the agreement may not violate public policy by having unreasonable standards or goals, requiring fraud, or encouraging divorce; and 5) a waiver of spousal support is unenforceable, and a waiver of spousal support may also be unenforceable.  Moreover, California statute provides that the prenuptial agreement must reflect good faith and must abide by the fiduciary duty that you and spouse owe to one another.  Finally, you both must fully and completely disclose all of your income and assets before the prenuptial is signed.

To invalidate a prenuptial agreement, either party may challenge any one of these requirements.  While a court will not set aside a prenuptial agreement just for “buyer’s remorse,” a court will absolutely examine an agreement closely, as it would with any other contractual agreement. 


We have extensive experience helping our clients invalidate unfair or invalid prenuptial agreements.  Call us today so we can talk about your marriage and your prenup.