Prenuptial agreements are put in place to protect your assets should your marriage end in divorce, but do you have the nerve to ask your fiance to sign one?
Do You Have the Nerve to Ask for a Prenup?
For years prenuptial agreements have had quite the stigma attached to them. Some people feel that the mere act of putting together this sort of agreement damns the relationship to failure. You should feel confident about your upcoming nuptials, so why even consider that the relationship might not last?
We Want “Prenup”!
It’s not just a lyric in a song. There’s a reason you’ll want to make sure you have a prenuptial agreement signed.
A prenuptial agreement, commonly referred to as a “prenup,” is a legal contract between two people about to get married that details how the couple’s assets will be distributed in the event of divorce or death. As discussed above, this prenuptial agreement can also have a social media clause added to it as another way of protecting you should you get divorced.
Prenuptial agreements are most frequently brought up in the context of a divorce or legal separation, when the couple is dividing up their property. However, a prenuptial agreement does not have to be viewed as a matter of distrust or discontent. Rather, it should be considered an equitable merger between two individuals who love one another and who want to protect their finances. Our legal team at Divorce Lawyers Los Angeles has extensive experience drafting and reviewing prenuptial agreements in Los Angeles, and can also argue the validity of a prenuptial agreement in court for divorced or divorcing clients who want to uphold or contest an existing agreement. Our family law attorneys understand that no two marriages are alike and we will treat your case with the respect and careful attention to detail it deserves.
What a Prenuptial Agreement Means for You
For many couples in Los Angeles, a prenuptial agreement is a smart way for individuals with a high net worth or significant property to protect their premarital assets and plan for any unexpected issues in the future, such as divorce or death. Most people who opt for a prenuptial agreement owned businesses or other valuable assets prior to their marriage, whether it’s their first, second or subsequent marriage, and want to avoid having their property or assets divided up in divorce. Under the state of California’s community property provision, all assets and debts acquired in marriage belong to both spouses equally and must therefore be divided 50-50 in divorce. If a couple decides they want to handle their property division differently, they can make this known in a prenuptial agreement.
The matters addressed in California prenuptial agreements can vary, but typically include provisions for the division of community and separate property, including the right to buy, sell, lease or mortgage real estate, and the payment of alimony or spousal support in the event of a divorce. For example, a spouse who would otherwise be entitled to spousal support after a divorce can legally relinquish his or her right to future alimony payments in a prenuptial agreement. In some cases, a prenup may include terms for the forfeiture of assets if a marriage ends on the grounds of infidelity, further conditions of guardianship, or a requirement of confidentiality, post-divorce. A prenuptial agreement can set ground rules regarding a couple’s present and future property rights and other important marital matters, but it does not override the court’s power to control child custody and parental visitation rights, nor can it adversely affect a child’s right to child support.
Similar to a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement is also executed to settle a couple’s affairs and assets in the event of a divorce or legal separation. However, as the name suggests, a postnuptial agreement is written after a couple gets married, rather than before.
How to Ask Your Partner for a Prenup
If you’re nervous about broaching the subject with your soon-to-be husband or wife, you might want to consider these tips:
1. Have the conversation earlier rather than later.
If you’re even remotely considering a prenuptial agreement, consider bringing it up in one of your initial post-engagement talks. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment – but this is one of the easiest times to cover all your bases – right when you’re both discussing what you want out of the marriage. Addressing everything from the outset takes any emotional pressure out of it. It also allows the both of you to have an open and relaxed conversation about it. In many cases, the other spouse is also trying to figure out how to broach the subject – so you might actually hear a big sigh of relief after you mention it.
2. Decide on the agreement terms together.
If you presenting a pre-drafted agreement to your partner, you’ll most likely put them on the defensive. Instead, use a mediator to draft an agreement together. This method ensures an open dialogue where you’ll both be able to discuss your expectations from the marriage.
While a mediator is good during the drafting portion of this process, you’ll want to hire independent attorneys to review the finished draft to increase the chance that the agreement will be upheld if it’s challenged.
3. Be honest about what you want.
Start with an honest conversation about why you want a prenuptial agreement. This can be for any number of reasons, including family history, beliefs, or other experiences.
Additionally, be open about explaining why certain aspects of the agreement are important to you. The more your partner understands your reasoning, the better the conversation will go.
4. Listen to your partner.
Your partner will have most likely have needs and concerns that differ from yours.
When disagreements come up, look at every possible solution and use the disagreement as a way to strengthen the relationship. Marriage is often about seeing the other person’s point of view and then meeting them halfway. This is a great opportunity to practice that.
5. Leave room for change over time.
A prenup has to account for events that haven’t happened yet – and even events that aren’t even in the foreseeable future. An example of this is a family business or having children. A partner may become an even larger part of a family business or one of you may decide to stay at home to raise your children.
A successful prenuptial agreement must be sensitive to various outcomes. A skilled attorney will be able to point you and your soon-to-be spouse in the right direction when trying to accommodate these potential outcomes.
How to Prepare a Prenuptial Agreement in California
Prenuptial agreements are about more than spouses attempting to withhold assets from one another in the event of a divorce. This type of contract is designed to control the outcome of any potential dispute that may arise should a divorce occur, especially among high net worth individuals, and is the best way to protect the finances of everyone involved, whether they own a business, have a higher earning potential, or expect a significant inheritance. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the execution of a prenuptial agreement, there are certain circumstances that affect the validity of a prenup. Under California’s Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), Los Angeles prenuptial agreements signed by both parties automatically go into effect when the couple marries, but in order to be considered valid and enforceable in court, the contract must:
- Be in writing;
- Be substantially fair when entered into;
- Be notarized;
- Fully disclose the assets and debts of each spouse; and
- Not be against public policy.
A prenuptial agreement can be prepared by either spouse in a relationship, though it’s typically the higher-earning spouse who has the prenup drawn up as they typically have more assets to protect. This is not a hard and fast rule. Either party is able to conclude they want a prenuptial agreement. Under California law, when presented with a prenuptial agreement, the other spouse must be given at least seven days to consult an attorney before signing the contract.
How an Experienced Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer Can Help
Los Angeles prenuptial agreements are complex and are considered legally binding contracts that can significantly affect your financial future should your marriage end in death or divorce. Prenuptial agreements are delicate matters and should only be prepared or reviewed by a Los Angeles family law attorney who is familiar with the relevant divorce codes and the intricacies of the California legal system. Our reputable family law attorneys at Divorce Lawyers Los Angeles can help you draft a prenuptial agreement to protect your premarital assets, review an agreement you are preparing to sign, or represent your case in upholding or challenging a prenuptial agreement in court. We have seen how prenuptial agreements have been challenged in the past and we will draft your agreement carefully so as to adequately protect you from future loss.
Free Prenuptial Agreement Consultation in Los Angeles
People with significant assets who are planning to get married often decline to introduce a prenuptial agreement because they don’t foresee a negative outcome in their future, such as death or divorce, and they don’t want to sow any discord in their relationship. Unfortunately, foregoing a prenuptial agreement in Los Angeles can be devastating if a married couple ends up getting a divorce and having to split up their property and assets. If you are about to get married and you have significant assets, or you have been married before, it might be a good idea to have your spouse sign a prenuptial agreement to protect yourself and your financial well-being. On the other side of the coin, if your spouse asks you to sign a prenuptial agreement, it is your duty to contact an attorney to ensure you fully understand the terms of the contract as they apply to you. For more information about prenuptial agreements in Los Angeles and how they can affect your financial well-being, contact our experienced family law attorneys at Divorce Lawyers Los Angeles today for a free initial consultation.
Divorce Lawyers Los Angeles
5455 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: (213) 550-4600