If you got engaged over the holidays, first of all, congratulations from all of us at Norman Dowler LLP. Preparing to share your life with someone can be incredibly exciting, but also a bit overwhelming. Beyond the romance, there are several advantages of sharing your life with someone, such as the ability to share a home, health insurance, retirement plans and pensions, life insurance policies, and other assets.
Marriage is a shared legal union that brings with it a lot of responsibility that should be taken seriously. When all of the excitement starts to calm down, you might want to consider a few things before the big day, one of which is making a prenuptial agreement (prenup). While you may think that your marriage is impenetrable, unfortunately, you are still human, and there are dozens of reasons to get a prenup that have nothing to do with the prospect of divorce.
Think Of The Children
Do you or your fiancé have children that will be brought into the union? Creating a prenup can protect certain assets for those children in the event of divorce or death. Even if your marriage lasts till death, a prenup can have an effect on your or your spouse’s inheritance. If you chose to have more children with your spouse, a prenup can ensure that other children still have a right to assets down the road. Should you or your spouse pass away, you will want to ensure that the children you had together, as well as the children you may have had prior to marriage, all have a share of your assets without the possibility of conflict between them interfering with your wishes.
In the event of a divorce or death, you may want to ensure that a portion of your assets is given to your family members. Maybe you love your spouse with all your heart, but your jewelry is really something you want to leave to your sister—not your husband’s sister who may convince him she should have it.
Business Is Business
If you own a small business with one or more other people, they may want you to ensure that your spouse will not try to take a share of the business. While you may have faith in your marriage, your businesses partners have their own interests to worry about. Additionally, it is a good thing to specify what will happen to your share of the business if you pass away, in order to save your spouse from having to guess at what you would want.
Overall, a prenup is whatever you make of it. If you are unable to discuss some of the above scenarios with your spouse, then you’re not ready to spend your life with them. A prenup is a great way to make sure that you both are on the same page, which can be proven by having everything in writing.
Marriage is a big deal—ideally something you do once, so make sure you do it right.
If you need legal counsel regarding premarital agreements, or divorce, contact our seasoned family law attorneys at Norman Dowler LLP. Since 1958, we have helped thousands of clients with their legal matters, providing legal representation tailored to Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles Counties.
Thomas J. Hutchinson
Norman Dowler, LLP
840 County Square Drive, Third Floor
Ventura, CA 93003