People who are contemplating marriage oftentimes sign a pre-marital agreement that sets forth each party’s property rights and support obligations. These agreements can be crucial in protecting the assets or income of a party in the event that the contemplated marriage fails. Premarital agreements need to be prepared and signed with great care because of strict rules that have been adopted by California governing the enforceability of premarital agreements.
In an ongoing marriage for whom spousal separation or termination of the marriage is not an issue may wish to make an express agreement for a variety of reasons including but not limited to clarifying their ownership of property, to change (transmute) the character of property from separate to community, or vice versa, or to amend or revoke a premarital agreement. Spouses may also desire to contract with each other with respect to matters unrelated to their property rights. In general, this is permissible so long as the subject matter of the agreement is not one prohibited by statute or contrary to public policy.