Do Prenups Expire?


What Is a Prenup?

A prenuptial agreement (also known as a prenup) is a written contract entered into by a couple before marriage that allows them to control some of the legal rights they acquire upon marrying, and outlines what happens if the marriage ends in divorce, especially when it comes to property division and alimony.

Many couples don't realize that it is possible to change the conditions of a prenuptial agreement at a later date. If both you and your spouse are unhappy with the terms of your prenup, all you need to do is revoke the previous agreement and create a new one. This is most often done when a couple’s finances change in a way that is unexpected. For example, if you weren't planning on having children when you married and you're now considering becoming a stay-at-home mom, you can create a new prenuptial agreement that addresses this important change in the family dynamic.

How Long Does a Prenup Last?

Prenups can expire when a couple stipulates that the prenup will automatically expire after a set time period, such as fifteen years of marriage. A prenup that is set to automatically expire has what is known as a sunset clause.

Sunset clauses take away some of the sting of what might otherwise be perceived as an overly harsh prenup and reassure the wealthier spouse that he or she is not being married for money. With a prenup that includes a sunset clause, the division of assets might favor the wealthier party if the marriage lasts only a short period of time. However, if the marriage exceeds the ten-year mark (or whatever period is specified by the sunset clause), the prenuptial agreement is thrown out and a more favorable one is created or the lower earning party has the chance to benefit fully from California's community property laws.

Sunset clauses in prenups are not mandatory. If you would like to include a sunset clause in your prenup, this is something you should discuss in further detail with your attorney.

We Can Help With Your Prenuptial Agreement

If you are interested in creating a prenuptial agreement, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our Pasadena family law firm can provide the assistance you need to create a legally binding agreement that fully protects your interests.