In 1983, the Uniform Law Commission issued a set of rules and recommendations on how to draft prenuptial agreements. That blueprint was adopted by just 26 states, some of which made changes to the recommendations then and in the years since in order to fit the state's individual family laws and needs.
Given that history, it is no surprise that prenuptial agreements have become a source of much confusion and frustration for family law attorneys and couples in California and throughout the country. States have widely diverse rules on how to draft prenup and how to handle challenges to them in divorce. And in an increasingly mobile society in which couples may meet, marry, live and divorce in completely different states, this clearly presents a number of logistical and legal challenges.
Therefore, the Uniform Law Commission has decided to revisit prenuptial agreements in an effort to make them more streamlined and consistent. According to a member of the Commission, which is made up of lawyers, judges, law professors and legislators from across the country, the new rules raise the ethical requirements of prenups. The goal is to ensure that they are fairly negotiated, which will hopefully reduce the amount of challenges to prenups during divorce proceedings.
The Commission has also reportedly tackled post-nuptial agreements, which are created by couples after they marry. Because they are much rarer than prenups, post-nuptial agreements have been subject to even more variances in the laws governing them.
Because the Commission's recommendations are just that - recommendations - it is up to state legislatures to make them into law. It remains to be seen whether California and the other states will do so.
Source: Financial Adviser, "New Prenuptial Rules Aim to Get States on Same Page," Arden Dale, Aug. 15, 2012
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