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In re Marriage of Pendleton

California Supreme Court
5 P.3d 839 (2000)


In 1991, Candace Pendleton (petitioner) married Barry Fireman (respondent). Two weeks before their wedding, Pendleton and Fireman entered a prenuptial agreement under which each spouse waived any right to spousal support or child support following divorce. Pendleton and Fireman were each represented by independent counsel, understood the agreement, and entered it voluntarily. Nevertheless, Pendleton sought spousal support when she filed for divorce. While they were married, Pendleton and Fireman had spent $20,000–$30,000 a month to maintain their lifestyle. At the time Pendleton filed for divorce, Pendleton had a separate net income of roughly $4,000 a month. Fireman filed motions opposing spousal support. The trial court, however, ruled that the prenuptial agreement’s waiver of spousal support was contrary to public policy and, therefore, unenforceable. The trial court awarded Pendleton $8,500 in temporary spousal support. Fireman appealed. The appellate court held that spousal-support waivers do not contradict public policy, and that the trial court should determine whether the particular waiver between Pendleton and Fireman was enforceable. Pendleton appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Baxter, J.)

Dissent (Kennard, J.)

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