Over the last decade, beginning with two seminal cases being decided by the California Supreme Court in 2000, there have been significant developments in the law pertaining to premarital agreements.  One common theme found in the flurry of recent reported appellate cases involving premarital agreements is the need for both parties entering into such agreements to utilize the services of experienced family law counsel.  In fact, the California state legislature in response to the California Supreme Court's holding in Pendleton and Fireman  from 2000, amended the California Uniform Premarital Agreement Act to specifically and expressly require that both parties have "independent legal counsel" if a waiver or limitation of spousal support is incorporated in a premarital agreement. By way of example, and there are many, in the recent holding of In re Marriage of Facter (2013) 212 Cal.App.4th 967, the court held that a premarital agreement that contained a waiver of spousal support prepared by a lawyer who had graduated from Harvard Law School was in part unenforceable.  In Facter the court found that although the attorney who drafted the premarital agreements was a seasoned commercial transactional lawyer who practiced corporate law, he failed to follow some of the basic conventions which experienced family law attorneys follow in negotiating a premarital agreement.   The fallout for the party in Facter who sought to enforce his premarital agreement after a failed 14 year marriage was devastating. 
Telephone: (424) 228-4133      Fax: (310) 751-6613      Address: 12100 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 800 Los Angeles, CA 90025      Email: info@laprenuplawyer.com
Bio of Attorney Brian J. Kramer Education Juris Doctor, University of Michigan Law School (1994), cum laude honors. B.A., Japanese and East Asian Studies, University of Kansas (1990), magna cum laude honors.  While in college was a Rotary Club Scholar and attended Nanzan University in Nagoya Japan.  Brian attended Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois and won the high school National Debate Championship in 1986 as a senior. Employment Latham & Watkins, Orange County, 1994-1996 Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, Century City, 1996-2005 Hersh, Mannis & Bogen, Beverly Hills, 2005-2007 Brian J. Kramer Professional Corporation, 2008-Present   Background Member, State Bar of California since 1994, Family Law Section Certified Family Law Specialist Selected to the 2014 Super Lawyer list in Family Law Member, Beverly Hills Bar Association, Family Law Executive Committee Member, Los Angeles Bar, Family Law Section Appellate counsel in In Re Marriage of Gehr (2012) S199760, and In re Marriage of Turkanis & Price (2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 332 Brian’s successful handling of Mr. Sean Sessums Means’ paternity and trusts matter resulted in Mr. Means being named a beneficiary of one of the most storied trusts in American history, The Doris Duke Trust.   Brian’s successful handing of Mr. Means’ case became the subject of an 8-page article entitled An Unlikely Inheritance that was featured in Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine in February, 2010.   You can read a copy of that story on Oprah’s website by clicking here. In addition to the Doris Duke Trust matter, Brian has represented parties in several high-profile family law matters including matters involving actors Jack Nicholson and Mel Gibson, Director Tim Burton, NBA General Manager Kevin Pritchard, and UFC Fighting Champion Chuck Liddell.       Brian has appeared on CBS News concerning the legalities of certain provisions in premarital agreements, and has served as a guest speaker to financial advisors on issues involving how clients may benefit from a premarital agreement.   PRACTICE AREAS There are only a few family law attorneys that subspecialize in family law matters involving premarital agreements.  The attorneys at our office are unique in that they specialize in both the transactional side (i.e., the preparation and negotiation of such agreements) and in representing clients in contested family law proceedings that involve premarital agreements. Because our lawyers have extensive experience and training in handling both the transactional work involved in negotiating premarital agreements and in litigating issues that arise about such agreements, they are knowledgeable about recent developments in the law that are relevant issues. Experienced family law attorneys who represent parties negotiating premarital agreements play two critical roles.   First, they help educate and advise their clients about how a premarital agreement can properly affect and alter their rights involving such matters as property rights and support.  As a result, this requires the lawyer to have a thorough knowledge of, among other things, California’s community property rules including under what circumstances community property rights may arise and affect a party’s ability to manage and control his or her assets.   Attorneys who draft premarital agreements must also be experienced about issues involving spousal support and how a premarital agreement may be used to limit, waive or affect such rights. Second, family law attorneys who negotiate premarital agreements must have the experience and know-how to specifically tailor them to fit each couple’s special circumstances in a manner that complies with the rigors of California law.  California law all but precludes a “cookie-cutter” approach to prenuptial agreements. A premarital agreement not only must be specifically drafted to take into account each couple’s unique circumstances, but under the law it must elaborate on certain aspects of those circumstances to be effective and binding.  If such agreements are not properly drafted, they can be rendered unenforceable. This could have costly consequences on the parties and members of their families. A Proven Track Record of Superior Results in Contested Proceedings Involving Matrimonial Agreements. Typically when issues concerning the validity of a premarital or matrimonial agreement arise, a family law court will upon a noticed motion agree to bifurcate the proceeding so that it can be resolved prior to trial.  This is typically the preferred manner of handling such disputes since the resolution of such matters will dictate the outcome of most issues that would arise in a contested family law trial (e.g., property division, spousal support and possible limitations and restrictions on professional fees).  Contested litigation involving the validity of matrimonial agreements can be extremely expensive and take an enormous financial and emotional toll on the parties. In 2013, our office began the year by successfully representing a Beverly Hills socialite and art and antique dealer in a three month bifurcated trial in Los Angeles Superior Court involving the validity of his premarital agreement.    As with most contested proceedings, the difference between winning and losing often is the result of the quality of the parties’ written presentations to the court.  Our office is known for excelling when it comes to preparing well written briefs when the stakes couldn’t get any higher. If you would like to review a sample of briefs we have filed at either the trial level or on appeal in cases involving premarital agreements please click below: To read a copy of the trial brief that we submitted in the matter of In re Marriage of Slotkin please click here. To read a copy of the winning brief we filed in the Marriage of Slotkin pertaining to the retroactive application of certain amendments to the UPAA (Uniform Premarital Agreement Act) that were promulgated in 2002 to premarital agreements that were entered into prior to 2002 please click here.  In addition to representing clients at the trial level, as a result of recognized expertise in matters involving matrimonial agreements, Brian Kramer has also been retained as lead appellate counsel in appeals involving premarital agreements.   For example, Brian served as lead appellate counsel in the case of In re Marriage of Gehr in case that involved the interplay between the Family Code’s limitations on rights to reimbursements under section 2640 and provisions in premarital agreements that provide for more onerous relief than permitted under the Code.   To read a copy of Brian’s successful Petition for Reconsideration to the California Court of Appeal, which resulted in an extremely rare instance of an appellate court amending its decision in favor of his client, please click here. To read a copy of the Petition for Review to the California Supreme Court that Brian prepared in Marriage of Gehr, please click here
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Frequently Asked Question: Can spousal support be  modified or waived through a prenuptial agreement? Premarital Agreements We specialize in representing clients in Southern California entering into premarital agreements.    Getting Started To get started, please fill out  our client intake questionnaire. Get The Answers Get Started Now