When two people fall in love and decide to get married, everyone tends to focus only on the exciting events to follow. While marriage is definitely something to celebrate, it is nothing to be taken lightly. It is a lifelong commitment that unfortunately is becoming increasingly likely to end in divorce. A prenuptial agreement can go a long way in ensuring the safety of both partners’ assets, business interests, and family trusts.
What is a prenuptial agreement?
Prenuptial agreements, also known as a “prenup”, is a private agreement between the two spouses-to-be. It sets out the stipulations of your marriage and outlines the provisions for what will happen in the event of a divorce or the untimely death of either spouse. Prenups most commonly outline who will receive property and other assets, including property owned by each spouse prior to getting married and whatever they might acquire together after getting married. In the state of California, this legal document declares the assets and debts of each individual before marriage and how those will be separated after a divorce. A prenup can also dictate how much alimony a spouse is entitled to. It is also becoming more common for pets to be included in prenuptial agreements.
Why get a prenup?
There are many, many reasons to have a prenuptial agreement in place prior to getting married. A few of these are:
- To protect assets and property owned before getting married.
- To establish a plan for paying expenses during the marriage.
- To protect children, parents, or other family members from the fear of a new spouse taking advantage of assets or property.
- To designate ownership and distribution of benefits from a life insurance policy.
- To protect a business or estate.
Prenuptial agreements can’t include anything that goes against public policy or that is downright illegal. For example, a prenup that contains anything that will adversely affect the rights of a child will be deemed unenforceable. The courts will always act in the best interest of a child. However, prenups can go above and beyond in making provisions for children. They can dictate the responsibility of each parent for future college expenses and other financial needs of the child. California Family Code Section 1612 specifically states what is legally able to be included and enforced in a prenuptial agreement.
Consult with an expert on whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you.
Having a prenup in place before getting married can give both you and your partner peace of mind. Hopefully it is something you don’t ever need, but in the unfortunate event that a divorce does happen, it is better to know that your assets are protected. Here at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri, we specialize in Family Law and Estate Planning. We have significant experience in drafting prenuptial agreements that can withstand a court challenge. We have combined litigation experience of over 100 years and we know just how messy and complex a divorce can be. Call us today at 408-553-0801 or click here to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.