Sparks Family Law, Inc. provides family law legal services for more than just divorce and divorce-related matters, family breakups, financial support and disputes regarding children. We also work with couples prior to marriage to help them understand the domestic relations and community property rules in California, or to work with them to create a comprehensive premarital agreement that will be in effect during their forthcoming marriage.
Premarital Legal Counseling
Marriage is a serious commitment that creates important legal rights and imposes sometimes complicated obligations on each party. When both parties understand these rights and obligations, they are better able to undertake the lifetime of commitment and partnership that are required to make a marriage successful.
Our premarital counseling package consists of a series of three (3) 45-minute sessions with both parties and an attorney who specializes in family law. In these sessions, we will identify common goals, discover differences, and have thoughtful discussions about everything from community property, finances and debt to children, careers and retirement. We charge a flat rate of $750 for this package. (Please note that this flat fee does not cover drafting and executing a prenuptial agreement; it is for a three-session counseling package.)
Prenuptial Agreements (Premarital Agreements)
A comprehensive prenuptial or premarital agreement can set the rules by which a couple operates during their marriage, as well as for what occurs should they ever separate and/or divorce down the road. California law imposes strict rules on the creation of prenuptial agreements, and in most cases requires that each party have an independent attorney of his or her own choosing. A prenuptial agreement must be signed voluntarily without duress and must meet certain timing requirements.
California family courts will enforce prenuptial agreements provided that the agreements are fair, not promotive of divorce, and do not violate the public policy of the State of California. Attorneys sometimes also describe that the agreement must not be “unconscionable” when either drafted and signed prior to marriage or when enforced upon separation or divorce. The word “unconscionable” refers to the requirement that the terms in the agreement must not be so lopsided or brutally unfair to one side that they “shock the conscience” or are manifestly and grossly unjust.
The rules surrounding prenuptial agreements are complex and it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can walk you through the process. And even then, depending on the circumstances that evolve over time, a family court could still conceivably strike out certain provisions years later down the road because it deems them unconscionable at that time (even though the provisions were reasonable at the time the agreement was reached).
Whether we work with you to draft a proposed premarital agreement or to respond to one, we bill at our regular hourly rates and charge a reasonable retainer that is generally lower than for a typical contested family law matter. Contact us or call (925) 465-2500 or (707) 398-6008 for more information or to schedule an initial consultation at Sparks Family Law, Inc. with attorney Gary D. Sparks.