Prenuptial Agreements

What is a Premarital (or Prenuptial) Agreement?

A premarital marriage agreement is a contract between two people who are getting married. It determines how a couple will handle their finances and establishes the property and financial rights of each member of the couple in the event of a divorce.

By entering into a premarital agreement, the parties are essentially, contracting around the community property laws in California, that would govern the parties’ respective rights and responsibilities should the parties’ marriage end in divorce.  For example, a couple may want their earnings during marriage to be separate property or they may wish to contract around their spousal support rights and obligations.

Are you Considering a Premarital Agreement?

Whether you are considering creating a premarital agreement or need legal advice regarding the implications of entering into a premarital agreement that has already been prepared, contact our office for a free consultation, as there may be a number of provisions that you will want to fully understand and address, including division of assets, division of debt, inheritance, future income, and possibly spousal support.

Benefits of a Premarital Agreement

The hope is that you will sign your premarital agreement, file it away, and never end up having to look at it again. However, there is something to said for having the security that comes with knowing, if your marriage did end in divorce,  that your financial rights and responsibilities have already been negotiated.  Prenups are especially popular for people who are marrying for a second time and beyond. Contrary to popular belief, premarital agreements are not just for couples who have an uneven distribution of wealth or substantial assets.

Having a premarital agreement may prevent stress, cost and time delays associated with divorce.  It may provide a predictable spousal support award, which will eliminate costly and speculative litigation.

Outcomes as outlined in a premarital agreement could be more fair due to the fact the parties were negotiating the terms at a time when they are more cooperative (prior to marriage) compared to when they are at odds with each other in a divorce setting.

By going through the process of creating a premarital agreement, one becomes informed about the marital legal obligations that would apply absent a premarital agreement and may contract around these obligations.

Need a Consultation

Call us today for a free consultation, during which we will provide you with an overview of the law in California and offer solutions to your unique family law matter.

Is it required that my future spouse have their own attorney?

While the law does not require it (except in certain circumstances), our office will only work on premarital agreements if both parties have an attorney to guide them. We do not waiver from this rule because if only one side has an attorney, and the other does not, the agreement may be more susceptible to attack should the party without an attorney attempt to invalidate the premarital agreement down the road.

What provisions are allowed to be included in a premarital agreement?  What rights are parties allowed to alter by way of a contract?
The property rights and obligations of each of the parties, meaning all assets and all debts of either or both of the parties.
The right to buy, sell, use, transfer, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property.
The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, or death.
The making of a will, trust or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement.
Spousal support obligations, including dollar amount and duration, or an absolute termination.
What subject matter is NOT appropriate to be included in a premarital agreement?
The right to child support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement. Even if parties unknowingly include a limitation or waiver of child support in their premarital agreement, it will not be enforceable as it opposes public policy.
Child custody arrangements should also not be included, and if they are, they are not going to be enforceable.

Is a prenuptial agreement right for me?

The answer is “it depends”.  Contact our office for a free consultation to discuss if a prenuptial agreement is right for you.