Saturday, November 22, 2014
Do I Need a California Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements, or prenups, are only sought by one in ten couples. With such a statistic, the obvious question is why you might need one when so many choose to avoid the process altogether.
In answering this question, it is important to understand that there are many concerns that prevent couples from entering a prenuptial agreement that have nothing to do with its potential to circumvent certain problems that may follow the end of a marriage. Many times, fiancés simply feel that a prenuptial agreement indicates a lack of confidence in the marriage or may seem unromantic. However, there are many reasons considering a prenuptial agreement is, in fact, a good idea. First, let’s take a look at what exactly a prenuptial agreement is.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract between a couple that is filed before they are to be married. In the agreement, the two people outline the property brought into the marriage by each person, and it is documented what the rights of the property will be in the event of a divorce. This provides many benefits to each of the people involved in the contract, and some of these benefits will be discussed here.
Future Financial Stability and Control
Without a prenuptial agreement in place, a lot can happen during the divorce process. Property that you brought into the marriage you may easily lose rights to. On the other end, if you were relying on your partner for certain living accommodations, you may be left high and dry with no support if you weren’t proactive in filing a prenuptial agreement. Not only does a prenuptial agreement save you from the hassle of trying to come to a fair resolution on these matters with the emotions and pain of a divorce in the air, but discussing with your future spouse the division of your assets in the event of a divorce can actually be a bonding experience. Being able to discuss such matters calmly and comfortably may give the two of you further confidence in the marriage on its own.
Prenups in their own way prepare a couple for marriage because they open the dialogue on financial responsibility. This conversation is often glanced over, and approaching it head on while filing a prenup may be an awesome start.
It’s not surprising that there have been some rare cases of marriages being postponed or cancelled altogether during filing of a prenuptial agreement. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If marriage preparation is ended by just talking about the possibility of divorce and financial matters, it’s safe to assume the marriage wouldn’t have lasted long in the first place, and filing the prenup was actually a great way to avoid the emotional turmoil and financial burden of the marriage.
Keep in mind that old expression: plan for the best, prepare for the worst. No one wants to expect the worst, but being prepared can save you a whole lot of hassle down the line if things don’t go as expected.
Peace of Mind
Much like the benefits provided to a couple in simply filing the prenuptial agreement, having such a contract may prevent arguments throughout the marriage as they provide peace of mind. Knowing for certain where you stand if things were to end in your marriage is actually liberating, as many of your concerns have already been addressed. Having that peace of mind may actually diminish the impact of arguments that may arise during the marriage. Taking this important step prior to your marriage may actually be one of the greatest things you can do for it in building trust and love, which is actually the opposite of what people fear a prenup may cause.
While prenuptial agreements offer many benefits to couples, it should be noted that they are not without certain limitations. To start, California prenuptial agreements cannot regulate child custody or child support. This determination is always made in court based upon what is found to be in the child’s best interest. Child support is viewed as the child’s right, and not to be legally contracted by the parents in advance. Another limitation in the upholding of prenuptial agreements is found in circumstances where one spouse is substantially better off financially than the other in the beginning of the marriage. In spite of a waiver of spousal support, a judge may rule in favor of some support for the less self sufficient spouse due to the fact that without such support, the individual may be left destitute. This would be deemed legally “unconscionable”, or unreasonably unfair. Prenuptial agreements signed between couples where one is more well off than the other generally limit how much spousal support will be given rather than waiving the privilege entirely for exactly this reason.
How do I file a Prenuptial Agreement?
It is essential that prenuptial agreements are filed in the presence of an attorney to ensure both individuals are represented fairly and all their interests are addressed. It is best that each individual has their own attorney to ensure fairness and security. Having a properly completed prenuptial agreement can mean the difference between your wishes being fulfilled, or ignored entirely in the event of a divorce.
Dwight E. Tompkins has years of experience dealing with prenuptial agreements and will be happy to assist you in filing the paperwork you need so that both you and your spouse are confident in knowing that your needs are met in the unfortunate event of a divorce. Remember peace of mind is key, and having a skilled attorney represent you is crucial to making financial and marital security a reality. Give our office a call today at 714 385 0044.
Remember that while prenuptial agreements are unfairly viewed as being negative, they actually provide many benefits in strengthening a marriage in the love and trust you share with your partner. Call us today to schedule an appointment!
I help people protect their families through affordable, personalized estate planning. Tompkins-Law.com I am in solo practice in Orange County, California where I focus on estate planning, family trusts, living trusts, wills, corporations and business succession planning. I speak Spanish and serve the latino community. Fideicomisos-Testamentos.com