How long does it take to make a “voluntary” pre-wedding contract? By “voluntarily” we believe that it will be how long before the parties have taken into account the importance of the agreement, had the opportunity to obtain legal representation and conducted careful and mature reflection to enter into the agreement? The court struck down the agreement because the parties did not comply with the 7-day rule. The Court of Appeal was set aside. It examined the legislative history of the amended FC1615 and found that Parliament was concerned about the circumstances of the obligations when a party is not represented by counsel. He wanted the parties to have at least 7 days to have that period to find and consult with independent legal counsel or, at the very least, to review the agreement for that period. The Court of Appeal found that the 7-day rule does not apply if both parties were represented from the outset by counsel. California`s legislature responded quickly within five months of the bond ruling by introducing its “anti-obligations” law in January 2011. It amended Section 1615 of the Family Code, which describes, under point (c), the circumstances in which an agreement may be challenged on the basis that it was not entered into voluntarily. In particular, the seven-day rule in Section 1615 (c) (2) of the Family Code provides that “the party against which the execution is requested has had no less than seven calendar days between the time the party was first presented with the agreement and the date on which the agreement was signed.” Remarkable absent in this language is any mention of the date between the signing of the agreement and the marriage. But over the past decade, practitioners have had to question the true meaning of this desperately ambiguous language. Can the parties sign the agreement within 7 days of their marriage? Does it take 7 days between the release of the FIRST project to the parties, even if there are several projects thereafter, or do the parties have to wait up to 7 days after the final project is released? If the parties agree to sign the final draft, but to modify a typographical error or to change a language or the numbering of the provisions of the agreement, but not the content of the agreement, will they have to wait an additional 7 days before signing? Can the parties sign on the 7th day or do they have to wait until the 8th day to sign? The nightmare that has occurred in many cases is that several draft agreements have been exchanged and negotiated between consultants for months, many seven-day periods have been expected before any further changes (substantial or not) have been made and the parties have signed after waiting the previous seven days.
At the beginning of this year, after almost ten years of this dilemma, practitioners obtained some clarity of the first case to study the 7-day rule.