What is the 7-Day Rule in California?

Learn about the 7-day rule in California, why it exists, and what Barry Bonds has to do with it.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

In the realm of prenuptial agreements, there exists a crucial legal principle known as the "7-day rule." Whether you're embarking on the journey of marriage or considering the prospect of a prenup, understanding this rule is essential. So, let's delve into what exactly the 7-day rule entails and why it's significant for couples in California.

What Is the 7-Day Rule?

In simple terms, the 7-day rule stipulates that a prenuptial agreement in California must be executed no earlier than seven days after the final agreement has been presented to the other party for review. This waiting period is mandated by law to ensure that both parties have sufficient time to carefully consider the terms of the agreement before signing.

Why Is It Important?

The primary purpose of the 7-day rule is to prevent coercion or undue influence. By providing a reasonable period for review, it allows each party the opportunity to seek legal counsel, thoroughly evaluate the terms, and make informed decisions without feeling rushed or pressured.

What does the 7-day rule have to do with Barry Bonds?

In 2000, the California Supreme Court ruled on the landmark case involving baseball star Barry Bonds and his wife, Sun Bonds. The Bonds prenuptial agreement, signed the day before their marriage in 1988, became a pivotal legal moment in California's prenup landscape.

Barry Bonds, earning $106,000 annually at the time, had Sun sign a prenup waiving her rights to his future earnings. Despite Sun not consulting a lawyer, and allegedly not speaking English well at the time, the Court upheld the agreement's validity, citing lack of evidence of coercion and no real proof of lack of understanding on Sun’s part.

This case reshaped prenup requirements in California. Now, for a prenup to be valid:

  • Both parties must enter into it voluntarily.
  • Each party must have their own lawyer, unless waived in writing.
  • If one party waives legal representation, the other must provide a written summary of the agreement's terms.
  • There's a mandatory seven-day waiting period from first viewing of the final agreement to signing.


The Bonds case underscores the importance of understanding prenuptial agreements fully. With legal changes in place, couples in California must ensure compliance with these requirements to safeguard their agreements.

The 7-day rule is a fundamental aspect of prenuptial agreement law in California. It upholds principles of fairness, transparency, and informed consent, ultimately strengthening the validity and enforceability of such agreements.

If you're considering a prenup, remember to factor in the 7-day waiting period and utilize this time to consult with legal professionals to ensure that the agreement aligns with your needs and objectives. With First, we have your back, and the 7-day rule is baked into our platform.