Case name : In re Marriage of Howell
Case # : No. D056693; May 24, 2011
Court : California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 1
Reviewed by : Laura Morgan
Main issue : Legal – Prenup
The statute providing that a premarital waiver of spousal support without independent counsel is unenforceable does not apply retroactively to premarital agreements signed before the effective date of the statute, since the statute does not merely clarify prior law, but rather substantially changes it. Thus, waiver of wife’s right to spousal support in premarital agreement was knowing and voluntary, and thus was valid under prior law, even though wife did not have independent counsel at the time she executed the agreement, where wife was capable of understanding husband’s financial disclosures, wife was capable of understanding the agreement’s admonition to obtain her own independent counsel, wife had sufficient time to retain counsel, and the agreement was not particularly complex, involved a small estate, and made full disclosure.
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