Prenuptial Agreements FAQ: How Can I Get a Prenuptial Agreement in Orange County?
Prenuptial Agreements in Orange County, California
Marriage is one of the most impactful life changes that a person can decide to take on. Today, nearly half of all marriages end in a divorce. Although a lot of people marry for love, it is still important to be practical, and to consider that there is a chance that a marriage might not last forever.
That is where a prenuptial agreement comes into play. Creating a premarital agreement does not mean that a marriage is doomed to fail, or that either party is planning for it to - it simply means that both parties want to set a fair standard ahead of time in the case that circumstances change.
Understanding how a premarital agreement might work for you, whether you need one, how to create one, and how it might change over time or in the case that you do get a divorce can be difficult. Every couple is different, and every prenup is tailored to the specific needs of each unique couple.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
In California, the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act sets the standards for all prenuptial agreements.
A prenuptial agreement can also be called a prenup, or a premarital agreement. A premarital agreement is a legally binding contract between two parties who plan to marry. This agreement usually discusses things that the couple brings into the marriage, like property, finances, and other issues, and sets a standard as to how they may be handled in the case of a divorce.
Sometimes, a prenuptial agreement can simply state specific pieces of property that each party is entitled to in the case of a divorce. However, depending on what each party brings into the marriage, prenups can be complex to set up, they can include numerous things, and they can be tricky to decipher.
Prenuptial agreements can list specific pieces of property or assets that are considered separate property. They can also set up guidelines regarding how divorce settlements and negotiations may go, and they may help protect one party from paying back the debts of the other. Some of these things are included in California divorce law, but can be complex, especially as commingling of separate property and community property occurs after a marriage begins.
A prenup can never legally include information about child support, child custody, or visitation. These issues will always be determined based on the child’s best interests at the time they are needed, and not in advance.
Prenuptial agreements can include provisions about spousal support only if the person who would receive spousal support has received legal counsel on his or her own prior to signing the prenup. These provisions can include limiting or eliminating spousal support altogether, as long as it is not considered unconscionable, or unreasonably unfair, during the divorce. Usually, a prenup will need to allow for spousal support in a long term marriage.
In California, prenups can also be changed or revoked after the beginning of the marriage.
It is always a good idea to discuss your situation with a divorce attorney so that you can understand what you might need to include in your prenuptial agreement, how it could help protect you and/or your soon-to-be spouse, and how you can create an agreement that can be legally enforced under California law.
Do I Need a Premarital Agreement in California?
Although many people believe that premarital agreements are only for wealthy couples or for those parties that enter into a marriage with a lot of assets and property, this is not the case. A premarital agreement can also protect you or your spouse from being stuck with the debt of the other party in the case of a divorce, or it can ensure that children from previous relationships receive the separate property or assets to which they are entitled.
In fact, a premarital agreement allows both parties to understand their own financial situation and communicate with one another about complicated issues before entering into one of the most permanent and life changing commitments: marriage. Both parties are likely to be happy with the outcome of a prenup because it allows them to work through their concerns on their own, rather than leaving it up to the law.
A prenup can also provide peace of mind for couples who have them. Creating a legally valid and enforceable prenuptial agreement is kind of like having insurance - while you may not plan on getting into an accident, it can be reassuring to know that if you did, your costs would be covered. Even though most people do not foresee a divorce before entering a marriage, it may be reassuring to know that a plan is in place if circumstances change down the road.
There is no law that says that any couple or any person is required to obtain a prenup before entering a marriage. However, the benefits of creating one usually outweigh any downsides.
How Does a Prenup Work?
Under California law, when a couple divorces, all property, debts, and assets will be divided according to community property law. This means that property, debts, and assets need to be categorized as either separate property or community property first, and that all community property will then need to be divided between the couples.
When a person remarries, the process restarts, with each party bringing separate property into the marriage, and in the case of a divorce, division under California’s community property law.
A prenuptial agreement can interrupt this process and set new standards during this process of dividing property so that the couple has more control over the outcome of their divorce.
For example, when a person has a child before entering into a marriage, he or she may want to set aside certain property or assets for that child. A prenup will allow them to do so ahead of time, while failing to have a prenup may result in the parent’s new spouse having a legal right to such property and assets instead of the child.
A premarital agreement can also clarify certain financial rights and obligations of both parties. It can be useful when one party enters into a marriage with significantly more property or assets than the other. It can also be useful when one party enters the marriage with significantly more debts than the other, so that one party does not end up taking on the debts of the other party in the case of a divorce.
Sometimes, a prenuptial agreement simply includes terms for how a divorce settlement may go. Factors can depend on the length of the marriage, the contributions of both parties to the marriage, or other things.
Your prenuptial agreement will be tailored to you and your spouse, and your specific needs. Working with an attorney can help you to understand the extent of the law, how a prenup can help you, and what you should include in your premarital agreement. If you choose not to have a prenup, you are leaving your divorce up to the law instead of giving yourself a voice.
How Can I Get a Prenuptial Agreement?
The most important thing to remember when creating a prenuptial agreement is to follow the law and to work with an experienced attorney so that you can make sure it is a valid prenup and that it can be legally enforced in the case of a divorce. Your prenup needs to meet California’s requirements in order to be used in your divorce.
You can work with an attorney to create a prenup, you can work with your spouse or partner, or you can create one on your own. No matter what, you should always consult an attorney before you are married and before you and your spouse sign your prenup so that you know it can be enforced.
When creating a premarital agreement that is legally enforceable in California, both parties are legally required to disclose all financial information prior to signing the agreement. Neither party can be forced to sign anything. The agreement cannot be found to be unconscionable, or unreasonably unfair. Both parties must be able to understand what they are signing, much like they need to in order to get married. Both parties must have at least seven days between receiving the final agreement and signing.
All prenuptial agreements are different. Your prenuptial agreement can be as detailed or as simple as you want it to be, or as you need it to be. There is no standard form for creating a prenup, so you can do so however you and your attorney would like to.
Orange County California Premarital Agreement Lawyer
If you have any questions about creating a premarital agreement, always contact an attorney. Remember that creating a prenup is like having insurance for your marriage - it doesn’t mean that you are planning for a divorce; it just means that you want to be prepared for something unexpected that might happen.
At Yanez & Associates, our lawyers have the knowledge and experience to create prenups that work within the California Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. We’re here to answer your questions and help you build a prenup that is tailored to your needs. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.