An important case came down last year that helped to further define California family law regarding premarital agreements.  In the case of Marriage of Cadwell-Faso & Faso (2011) 191 CA4th 945, 119 CR3d 813, the California Courts of Appeal determined the requirement of Family Code §1615(c)(2) that a party against whom enforcement of a premarital agreement is sought have at least 7 calendar days “between the time that the party was first presented with the agreement and advised to seek independent legal counsel and the time the agreement was signed” does not apply when that party was represented by counsel from the outset of the transaction.

The facts of Cadwell-Faso were as follows:  Before their marriage, a couple entered into a premarital agreement.  Husband’s attorney prepared the initial draft of the agreement, presented it to the prospective wife and advised her to seek independent counsel.

Prospective wife hired an attorney, who, over the course of several months, prepared five draft addenda.  The 5th addendum was faxed to prospective husband, who transmitted it to his attorney 3 days later.  Three days after that the parties met with his attorney and signed the agreement, after final working changes were made.  They married two days later, separated four months after that.

In later marital dissolution proceedings, Husband moved to set aside the premarital agreement, which imposed both spousal support and property obligations.  He claimed that he signed the agreement without the benefit of the statutory time period of Family Code §1615(c)(2), which requires “seven calendar days between the time that [the] party was first presented with the agreement and advised to seek independent legal counsel and the time the agreement was signed.”

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