Preparing for a wedding and marriage is an exciting and joyful journey. Couples ready to say “I do” should be aware that under the laws of California all property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be part of the marital estate. It is to be equally divided if a couple decides to divorce or legally separate. Some couples may want to have a contract — called a prenuptial agreement — before they marry, thus changing the rights of each party with regard to property they bring to a marriage or during the marriage.
Reasons to Have a Prenuptial Agreement
Deciding to have a prenuptial agreement in place before the wedding doesn’t mean the couple is worried that the marriage won’t last. It just means they want to agree on specific assets acquired before, on and during the marriage are not affected by community property laws. We find that prenuptial agreements make sense for second marriages, for example, where there are assets or children unrelated to the new marriage. Such agreements can:
- Preserve the separate character of assets such as real estate, investment and financial accounts
- Protect assets for children from a previous marriage
- Outline property division in case of divorce or legal separation
- Determine how household finances will be managed in the marriage and clarify their financial rights and responsibilities during the marriage
- Keep business interests separate
- Specify what assets will be considered community property
- Define debt that will remain an individual’s responsibility
Additionally, prenuptial agreements can address spousal support provisions in case of a future separation or divorce. This particular issue has specific rules which need to be followed in order to be enforceable in the future. At Viola Law, we advise that you seek legal assistance in order to make sure this, and all the provisions in your prenuptial are legally binding.
Why An Agreement Is a Wise Investment
If you have children or property from a previous marriage or have assets that you want to keep separate from California’s community property laws, it’s an excellent idea to consult with a family law attorney. There are many benefits to having a prenuptial or pre-marital agreement in place before the wedding, including:
- It organizes your finances before embarking on a new chapter in your life.
- It encourages you to have important conversations with your partner about money.
- It helps you maintain control over your present and future financial situation.
- A well written and enforceable prenuptial agreement can save you the emotional stress and high expense of a divorce.
If you and your soon-to-be spouse have reached agreements on your prenuptial language, then working with a mediator may be the best choice for you. At Viola Law we have a mediator on staff who can help put your prenuptial agreement in writing and make sure the agreement is legally binding.
Phone Consultation with a Family Law Expert
The attorneys at Viola Law can help you throughout the prenuptial agreement process.
The first step is to call us. We’ll begin with an initial conversation, gathering information about your situation. We will schedule a meeting at our office and advise you on how best to proceed. As your legal representative, we always keep your information private and confidential.
Choosing Viola Law for Your Prenuptial Agreement
Viola Law has a reputation for personalized service. We’re sensitive to our clients’ needs. We’ve helped thousands of families in San Mateo County and the surrounding Bay Area counties for over 28+ years, guiding them through all aspects of marriage planning including prenuptial agreements.
Have more questions about marital agreements? Call us today and we can help.
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Photo credit: Ben Mortimer