Some argue that a prenuptial agreement is necessary before a couple ties the knot, while others believe they can do without it. What are the steps a soon-to-be married couple should take before they begin their future together? Norman Dowler LLP reviews how a prenuptial agreement can benefit your relationship and why they are important to protect both you and your spouse.
Defining the Terms
A prenuptial, or premarital, agreement protects spouses, property, and other assets in the event of divorce, separation, or death. Some people immediately have negative reactions to prenuptial agreements, as their past experiences or knowledge may have shaped the way they think about them. However, people can change over time and divorces are common in California. Even though a successful and healthy marriage requires you to consider another person’s feelings, it does not mean you should neglect looking out for yourself.
Understanding the Statistics
If your partner wants a prenuptial agreement, it does not mean your partner is anticipating a divorce, or that he or she is not committed to a long-term relationship with you. Rather, the agreement is for protection if something were to ever happen. Because 40 to 50% of marriages end in divorce in the United States, it is pivotal to take the steps that will allow you to take care of yourself in the future.
Creating an Open Line of Communication
The best way to approach a prenuptial agreement is by opening an honest line of communication between you and your betrothed. Rather than surprising your fiancé with a prenuptial agreement, you can start a discussion weighing the pros and cons. Ask questions to get a better understanding if this is something that would benefit both of you. Of course, it is always wise to seek legal counsel if you have questions regarding the specifics of the contract.
Consulting Your Attorney
It is imperative to consult with your family law attorney before signing any agreements. As the contract must adhere to California’s prenuptial agreement requirements, your attorney can provide the expert legal advice to ensure your rights are protected and the agreement is valid under California’s laws. One mistake could make the contract invalid if it does not adhere to the law.
Protecting Each Other
Prenuptial agreements can sometimes create uneasy feelings between partners. Do not think of your partner as being selfish or making sure you would be left with nothing in the event of a divorce. Premarital agreements are an effective way to protect a spouse’s business, inheritance rights, and financial responsibility. They should explain and define how you will acquire assets during your marriage, how to treat your respective incomes and obligations, and how all of this will be treated if your marriage is one of those that do not work out. These contracts are mostly common discussed when considering what would happen in a divorce, but they are also key when a spouse passes. Death is inevitable, and it is important to be protected in unexpected situations.
Before signing a prenuptial agreement, contact your seasoned family law attorney at Norman Dowler LLP. With any contract, it is crucial to seek separate legal counsel to ensure your best interests are protected.