Articles Posted in Prenuptial agreement

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Prenuptial Agreement.jpgPrenuptial agreements, or premarital agreements as they may also be called, are contracts entered into before a marriage to establish the property rights of each spouse in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement is most common where one or both spouses are wealthy, but they can also be used to protect a family business or to serve other important functions. For example, prenuptial agreements can protect a party from assuming the debts of the other party, determine how property will be passed upon death, clarify financial rights and responsibilities during a marriage or avoid long, costly disputes during divorce proceedings.
Without a prenuptial agreement, California law determines how property is divided during marriage and after a marriage ends. Generally, a spouse is entitled to share and receive ownership of property acquired during the marriage, receive some of your property upon death, share in any debts acquired during the marriage, and share in the responsibilities in managing property acquired during the marriage.
The decision to enter into a prenuptial agreement is one that every couple should make individually, as every situation is unique. Many couples fear that discussing a prenuptial agreement, or the issues that the prenuptial agreement will cover, may cause problems in the relationship. However, often the opposite is true. One of the main reasons couples divorce is finances, and a prenuptial agreement will allow a couple to discuss those issues prior to marrying.
There are some downsides to a prenuptial agreement. Depending on your relationship, it may take some of the romance and excitement out of the wedding and its preparation. Sometimes, the beginning of a marriage is not the appropriate time to discuss prenuptial agreement issues because you and your future spouse may not know enough about your life together to answer the questions required. If that is the case, you can always wait until you are married, when you know more about how you and your spouse intend to manage your household and its finances before discussing what is referred to as a postnuptial agreement.
Like many contracts, a prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. In addition, if a spouse is pressured into signing the agreement, or if they were not provided enough time to read and consider the agreement, a court may find the agreement invalid.
Prenuptial agreements cannot address everything; courts will invalidate certain portions if they do not comply with current California law. A prenuptial agreement may not contain any decisions regarding child support or child custody, because the court has final say in determining proper child support and the child’s best interests. In addition, a spouse cannot waive his or her right to alimony, which is one of the most frequent provisions struck down by courts. The prenuptial agreement cannot include personal preferences, such as who does each chore, where holidays are spent, or what school the children will attend, because a prenuptial agreement is primarily intended to address financial issues, and judges do not like to interfere in private domestic matters.
In any case where future spouses are considering a prenuptial agreement, each person should acquire their own legal counsel, to ensure that the agreement is fair to both parties and to reduce the chances of any impropriety.

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Prenup.jpgPrenuptial agreements commonly make the news when a celebrity is getting married. It is often assumed that celebrities of great wealth have such an agreement in place prior to their wedding, and speculation is generally made on the details of the possible agreement. For example, just this summer mandy many news outlets including CBS MoneyWatch, debated what Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg may have done in terms of a pre-nuptial agreement prior to his wedding to Priscilla Chan. Although no details have been made public about any agreement that may be in place, it hasn’t stopped mass speculation about how Zuckerburg has protected his fortune in the event of a separation.
Although these types of agreements are common in the world of wealthy celebrities, are they needed for “everyday” couples? Our Northern California family law attorney believes that in order to determine if an agreement like this is appropriate for your situation it is best to know some basic facts about them.
What is a California Premarital Agreement?
In California “prenuptial agreements” are called premarital agreements. According to the California Family Code Section 1610 a premarital agreement is defined as, “an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage.” The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. After the marriage has occurred the agreement may be amended or revoked by a written agreement signed by both parties.
What Can be Included in a Premarital Agreement?
A premarital agreement can cover a wide variety of subjects, including property rights, the creation of a will or trust to carry out the provisions of the premarital agreement, ownership of life insurance benefits, choice of law, and other personal rights. A premarital agreement cannot adversely affect the right of a child to support from either parent. A provision can be made that limits or waives spousal support. However, a provision like this will not be enforceable if the party against whom enforcement of the provision is sought was not represented by independent counsel at the time of the agreement or if it is unconscionable at the time of enforcement.
Getting Legal Help in Northern California
Premarital agreements can be uncomfortable subjects for engaged couples, as they are intended to protect each party in the event of a dissolution of the marriage. However, they can be extremely important for people who are wealthy and/or have children from previous relationships. In addition, having a premarital agreement in place may make a divorce less contentious as most of the details are already in place.
If you believe that a premarital agreement may be beneficial in your personal situation and are interested in learning more about such an agreement do not hesitate to contact our Santa Rosa family law attorney. Our firm can assist you in determining what type of agreement is best for your situation and help make the appropriate arrangements to protect your rights. For a free consultation call Beck Law P.C. at 707-576-7175 or contact us online.
See Related Blog Posts:
Benefits and Drawbacks of a Premarital Agreement
Where do I File for a Divorce in California?