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Bay Area Family Attorneys > Blog > Prenuptial Postnuptial > Big Pitfalls to Watch for in California Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Big Pitfalls to Watch for in California Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements


Kevin Costner and his ex-wife, Christine Baumgartner, just finalized their divorce after months of contentious back-and-forth that played out in front of the media. While the divorce was primarily settled back in September of 2023, there were key items that were finally finalized in February of 2024. Some of the most hotly-debated items revolved around Ms. Baumgartner’s alleged non-compliance with a prenuptial agreement. One term of the prenuptial agreement that received wide attention was that Baumgartner had, reportedly, initially refused to move out of Mr. Costner’s home, even though the couples’ prenuptial agreement specified that Baumgartner would only have 30 days to leave the property after filing for divorce.

Baumgartner, reportedly, argued that she had not understood the terms of the prenuptial agreement. The further alleged that she felt pressured to sign the agreement back in 2004. These claims received more media attention when Baumgartner, according to Costner’s legal team, “refused in bad faith” to answer their posed questions related to what her understanding of the agreement was.

Pitfalls to California Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Whenever a divorce case involving A-list celebrities splashes through the news, questions arise pertaining to the quite common issues. Many couples these days sign prenuptial agreements before getting married, or draft postnuptial agreements after the fact. High-profile cases involving fights over prenups/postnups can lead anyone to wonder whether their own prenup/postnup will hold up in court. What are some of the common mistakes you can avoid in drafting a prenup? What could invalidate an otherwise enforceable agreement? This article will discuss some of the big pitfalls to watch for in your own prenuptial agreement.

It is important to note that the following does not cover every area that can be problematic or invalidate a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. It is always wise to reach out to a knowledgeable prenuptial and postnuptial attorney to ensure you move forward with the information you need.

  1. The agreement was entered into involuntarily: if one party was improperly pressured or forced to sign the agreement then it may not be enforceable. It is important to note that this pressure or discomfort must cross an improper line. Some level of pressure may not invalidate an agreement. It is important to discuss the specifics of your case with a knowledgeable attorney.
  2. The agreement was procured via fraud: these agreements are only enforceable if they are entered into after full, appropriate disclosure by both parties pertaining to income, assets, liabilities, etc. If either party gives information that is untruthful/inaccurate the agreement could be invalidated.
  3. Unconscionable Agreement: Agreements that are so patently unfair to one party are unlikely to be honored by the court. An agreement that would leave one party facing severe hardship while the other was very prosperous is likely to be highly scrutinized by the courts.

Giving your prenuptial/ postnuptial agreement the highest likelihood of being successful depends on how you approach the agreement from the onset. Whether you are contemplating drafting a prenuptial/postnuptial agreement, or questioning how your own agreement will be viewed by the courts in an upcoming divorce action, the esteemed prenuptial and postnuptial attorneys at Cardwell, Steigerwald Young can assist you.

Contact Cardwell, Steigerwald Young LLP

Do not leave something as important as your financial wellbeing and security in the future to chance. Contact the San Francisco prenuptial and postnuptial agreement attorneys at Cardwell, Steigerwald Young LLP to receive advice today.




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