After months of discovery and a one-day trial in the Los Angeles Superior Court, David Glass successfully litigated his client’s claim that her Prenuptial Agreement should be invalidated due to a lack of her voluntary consent and also due to the agreement’s unconscionability at the time of signing. All Prenuptial Agreements in California that were signed after January 1, 2002 must meet, among other things, the strict requirements of the latest amendments to the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA). Under the latest amendments, it is the party seeking to enforce the Prenuptial Agreement who has the burden of proof to show that the agreement was voluntarily signed.
Proof that a premarital agreement was entered into voluntarily may be shown by a number of factors including:
- Sufficient time between presentation and execution for the party to understand the agreement and consult with counsel;
- Absence of surprise;
- Business experience and education;
- Lack of disparity in the parties’ assets and income;
- Absence of inequality in bargaining;
- Full disclosure of assets and liabilities;
- Absence of tricks or deception in procuring the agreement’s execution.
David and his client proved to the court that 6 of the above 7 factors were not present, and therefore David’s client’s signature was not secured voluntarily. Additionally, the Court found that the agreement was not enforceable because it was unconscionable at the time when it was executed, after David and his client proved all of the following:
- The party seeking to invalidate the agreement was not provided with a “fair, reasonable, and full disclosure” of the other party’s property and finances; and
- He or she did not voluntarily and expressly waive in writing, prior to signing the premarital agreement any right to disclosure of the property and financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided; and
- He she did not have adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.
Now, it’s “back to the drawing board” for David and his client, who now will have access to spousal support, a potential award of attorney’s fees, and her one-half of an estate that may exceed $1 million.