Pre-Marital & Post-Marital Agreements

Pre-Marital agreements (also known as Pre-Nuptial agreements) are governed by the Pre-Marital Agreement Act which has been codified in the California Family Code. There are a number of requirements and guidelines that must be met to ensure that the pre-marital agreement is upheld in a court of law, should it ever be necessary. To ensure that your pre-marital agreement is consistent with public policy and meets the requirements necessary to make it enforceable in a court of law, it is best to have a knowledgeable and experienced attorney assist you in the matter. Post-marital agreements are also becoming more common, as married couples wish to identify their individual financial rights and Obligations after entering into a marriage.

Spousal Support/Alimony Spousal Support

Sometimes called alimony or maintenance, spousal support is the subject of many myths and misconceptions. Awards of any spousal support at all are far from automatic, and California judges have broad discretion in determining how much will be paid for how long when they do award spousal support. Whether you believe you should receive spousal support or may face a demand that you pay it, the lawyer you choose to represent you could prove pivotal for your financial future. As opposed to child support, which is based on relatively clear, consistent statewide guidelines, spousal support outcomes can vary widely based on the approach you take, the court where your case is heard, your attorney's level of preparation and other factors.

What Factors Does a Court Consider in Deciding on Spousal Support?

On a temporary basis, between the time of separation and the time of trial, the court has a program that is used to calculate spousal support. On a permanent basis, the court looks to the factors contained in Family Code Section 4320.

Under Family Code 4320, the court shall consider all of the following circumstances:

  • The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account all of the following:
    1. The marketable skills of the supported party, the job market for those skills, the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills, and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills of employment
    2. The extent to which the supported party’s present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were incurred during the marriage to permit the supported party to devote time to domestic duties
  • The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party
  • The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living
  • The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage
  • The obligations and assets, including the separate property of each party
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The ability of the support party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interest of dependent children in the custody of the party
  • The age and health of the parties
  • Documented evidence of domestic violence
  • The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party
  • The balance of the hardships to each party
  • The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time applies to a short term marriage. In the case of a marriage of long duration, as described in §4336, a ‘reasonable period of time’ for purposes of this section generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage. However, nothing in this section is intended to limit the court’s discretion to order support for a greater or lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors listed in this section, §4336, and the circumstances of the parties
Client Reviews
"I highly recommend Julia! Divorce can be so stressful and she explained all the steps to divorce and made sure I understood. She also made sure I received spousal support and my attorneys fees paid by the other party. If money is an issue she and her husband will work with you regarding payment plans. She replies promptly to all emails and calls and her personality is just icing on the cake." Aide Y.
"Julia has been there every step of the way throughout the whole process. She is thorough, attention to details, prompt and very professional. She had made my process so much easier. I highly recommend her." Erin T.