A prenuptial or premarital agreement is a contract entered into by a couple who are contemplating marriage and want to establish at the outset how certain matters will be handled in the event that the couple later separates or divorces. A prenuptial agreement can also come into play if one of the spouses dies or upon the happening of any other event that the couple agrees to in the document.
A prenuptial agreement usually addresses how the community property will be divided between the spouses as well as the terms of any spousal support (alimony) payments, such as whether any support will be awarded, how much and for how long. Other matters can be addressed in a prenup as well, but certain subjects, such as the right to receive child support, cannot be adversely affected by a premarital agreement under California law.
So when is it a good idea to have a prenuptial agreement? It is never really a bad idea to have a prenup, especially if both parties are interested in having one. In most cases, however, it seems that parties obtain a prenuptial agreement either because of a financial disparity between the spouses or because it is a second marriage for one or both spouses.
Where one spouse is entering the marriage with significantly more assets than the other, there may be some fear that a future break-up could prove too costly. A prenup can help the wealthier party know that he or she will not be taken advantage of or “taken to the cleaners” while assuring the other spouse that he or she will be treated fairly and adequately taken care of in the event of a divorce.
If a spouse has been married before, he or she may have gone through a painful divorce and be hesitant to remarry because of the prospect of winding up in another bitter dissolution. Negotiating a prenuptial agreement in advance can help that person enter into the new marriage without fear of a future court battle.
Talk to an Experienced Family Lawyer About a California Premarital Agreement
Regardless of the situation, a prenuptial agreement can be a good idea that increases communication and expectations between the prospective spouses and lets them embark on their new life together with a focus on each other and without stress or worry about what the future may bring. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, talk it over with your fiancé(e) and then consult an experienced family law attorney to make sure your agreement is valid, enforceable and meets your needs. In San Diego, contact the Law Offices of Andy Cook.