What is the prenup “7-day rule” in California?

Dec 13, 2022 | California Prenuptial Agreements

Like any other contract, prenuptial agreements have legal requirements. Prenups are unique in that the parties are emotionally tied up (i.e., future spouses) instead of, say, business partners. Thus, prenups have their own special set of requirements (that vary from state to state) and are sometimes different from regular contract requirements. For example, the 7-day rule in California. Keep reading to learn all about the different prenup requirements and a deep dive into the 7-day rule. 


What is a prenup?

First things first, what is a prenup?

  • Definition: A prenup is a contract between two people planning to marry. It outlines how assets, debts, and other matters will be handled if the marriage ends.
  • Purpose: Predetermined plans for divorce or death can protect both partners financially and encourage open communication regarding money, goals, and expectations.
  • Overrides Default Rules: A prenup allows couples to customize their outcomes rather than relying solely on state divorce laws.

Takeaway: A prenup is an excellent tool to protect your finances for the unexpected. Just like you have car insurance for the “what-ifs,” prenups similarly protect you in whatever scenario life throws your way.


Prenup requirements in California

To ensure your prenuptial agreement is enforceable in California, it MUST meet specific legal requirements. Failing to do so could leave you subject to the state’s default divorce laws, which may not be in your favor.

Essential Requirements for a Valid California Prenup

  • Written Form: The prenuptial agreement must be a written document. (No verbal agreements!)
  • Signatures and Notarization: Both partners must sign, and the signatures must be notarized.
  • Full Financial Disclosure: Each party must provide complete details of their assets, debts, income, and inheritances. No hiding anything!
  • Legal Counsel (With Exceptions): While lawyers aren’t mandatory as the baseline requirement, both partners must sign a waiver if choosing to proceed without them. However, a lawyer is required if the prenup alters spousal support rights in the prenup.
  • Legal and Fair Terms: The agreement cannot contain illegal provisions or be grossly unfair to one party.
  • No Coercion: Both partners must sign freely, without pressure or undue influence.
  • Crucial 7-Day Rule: California requires a 7-day waiting period between presenting the FINAL prenup and signing it. (More on this below!)


A deep dive into the “7-day rule”

Section 1615 (c)(2)(B) of the California Family Code mandates a 7-day waiting period for all prenuptial agreements finalized after January 1, 2020. This means no signing until 7 full days have passed from when the final version is presented. This requirement applies even if you have lawyers. Think of it as a mandatory reflection period.

Why It Matters: The 7-day rule ensures both partners have time to carefully review the agreement, contemplate what they are signing, and seek legal advice if needed or desired.

What This Means for Your Timeline: Start the prenup process early! Aim for at least 3-6 months before your wedding. Rushing at the last minute could lead to an invalid agreement if you can’t fulfill the 7-day rule.

An example of how the 7-day rule works in real life

John and Suzie finalized their prenup on February 26, 2024. This means their prenup was in its final form, and there were no more changes made after this day. They agreed that this was the version of the prenup that they were going to sign. Now, they enter the 7-day window. Their attorneys advise them that they may now sign the prenup on or after March 5, 2024. If you take a look at a calendar, you can see that there are seven full days between the finalization of the agreement and the date of signing. Some attorneys even recommend doing 8 days just to be safe, although that is not required.



What if you’re less than seven days out from your wedding, and you want to get a prenup? 

Unfortunately, you would no longer be able to get a prenup at this time in California. That’s because of the 7-day rule requirement, and without it, you will not have a valid prenup. 

If your wedding is less than 7 days away, then you have two options: 

  1. Postpone: You can postpone the wedding and get the prenup done with all of the necessary California requirements, like the seven-day rule or 
  2. Postnup: You can possibly look into getting a postnuptial agreement (a.k.a. postnup). This is similar to a prenup but is done after the wedding. 

Again, it is highly recommended that you begin the prenup-making process three to six months before the wedding day to avoid this type of pitfall. Prenups can take some time due to ongoing discussions, negotiations, and legal questions you may have. Don’t wait and miss your chance! 


The Bottom Line

California law is strict about this: a prenup is only valid if both partners have at least 7 full calendar days to review the FINAL agreement before signing. This ensures both parties fully understand and agree to the terms.

How HelloPrenup Helps: Our platform guides you through creating a California-compliant prenup, ensuring the 7-day rule is factored in. In addition, we offer flat-rate, discounted attorney services from vetted California attorneys in case you want (or need) assistance from an attorney.

You are writing your life story. Get on the same page with a prenup. For love that lasts a lifetime, preparation is key. Safeguard your shared tomorrows, starting today.
All content provided on this website or blog is for informational purposes only on an “AS-IS” basis without warranty of any kind. HelloPrenup, Inc. (“HelloPrenup”) makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this website or blog or otherwise. HelloPrenup will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor any use of, reliance on, or availability of the website, blog or this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time by HelloPrenup and without notice. HelloPrenup provides a platform for contract related self-help for informational purposes only, subject to these disclaimers. The information provided by HelloPrenup along with the content on our website related to legal matters, financial matters, and mental health matters (“Information”) is provided for your private use and consideration and does not constitute financial, medical, or legal advice. We do not review any information you (or others) provide us for financial, medical, or legal accuracy or sufficiency, draw legal, medical, or financial conclusions, provide opinions about your selection of forms, or apply the law to the facts of your situation. If you need financial, medical, or legal advice for a specific problem or issue, you should consult with a licensed attorney, healthcare provider, or financial expert. Neither HelloPrenup nor any information provided by HelloPrenup is a substitute for financial, medical, or legal advice from a qualified attorney, doctor, or financial expert licensed to practice in an appropriate jurisdiction.


Recent Posts

Ready to join the thousands of couples completing their prenup?