28 Apr Should I Make a Prenuptial Agreement Before Getting Married?
Prenuptial agreements, or “prenups” are legally binding agreements made before a marriage which determine what happens to the assets of husband and wife should the marriage end. Prenups are quite popular in California but what are the benefits of actually having one?
For some people, the idea of making any sort of binding agreement before marriage seems like a denial of trust between the two people in the relationship. Is making a prenuptial agreement almost saying that “the marriage is going to end anyway, so we might as well agree about what we should do while we are still capable of agreeing about anything?”
A prenuptial agreement is just an option and is not compulsory. Every relationship is unique and for some people it maybe the sensible thing to do and for others, it may not be right. Whether to have an agreement of this type or not is down to the judgment of the would-be spouses and part of life’s learning curve! Plenty of marriages that have had a prenup made beforehand survive for the lifetimes of the two people in the marriage, but on the other hand, the divorce rate is approaching the 50% level in California. That means that you have a 50/50 chance that your marriage is going to last the distance. If it doesn’t, the fact that you made a prenup before you were married may be a huge relief and at least less reason to squabble over each other’s and shared assets.
The decision over whether to make a prenuptial agreement or not is up to you. The more assets you have and the more assets you acquire over the lifetime of the marriage, the more useful a prenup might eventually prove to be. If you do decide to make an agreement, it is important that each of you appoint your own family law attorney attorney to draw up the agreement and advise you on what should be included and how assets should be distributed in the event of separation or divorce.
How long does a prenup last?
If there is no time clause in the agreement, then it is indefinite, which means that it lasts as long as the marriage lasts. However, as long as you both agree on a specified time limit, you can put such a limit on the length of the agreement. The prenuptial agreement comes into force only after you are married, not beforehand!
Also, if at some time or another, that you want to cancel the agreement, or amend it, you can do so at any time after the marriage. The main proviso is that any changes are mutually agreed.
Main requirements for a prenup
There is an established procedure in place in California of you do decide to go ahead with a prenuptial agreement. As it is a legally binding agreement, it needs to be drawn up with the help of attorneys. Each partner to the agreement should have a different attorney. The agreement when drafted must be given at least seven days before it is signed by both parties. It must be agreed to by both parties. It should include what happens to individually owned assets and any shared assets. The agreement must be signed on paper in front of witnesses. Each person should be made aware of any property or assets that the other person owns before signing the agreement.
The state may alter the agreement in the best interests of the children after divorce
In the event of a divorce, the Family Law Court may decide that in the best interests of the children of the marriage, that details of the agreement may be incompatible. For example, if it is decided that one of the parents is to be the primary caregiver, the agreement may mean that that parent has insufficient funds or income to care for the children.
If you are in a relationship and are considering marriage in the near future and would like advice on drafting a prenuptial agreement, then you are advised to talk to one of the experienced family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Damian Nolan in Lakewood or Long Beach California. Call 562-634-1115 today.