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Do I Need A Prenup?

prenuptial agreement

If you are getting married in California, you almost certainly will need a prenuptial agreement. Many people may be surprised by such a definitive statement, but the fact is that most people benefit from prenups and far more suffer from their absence. With divorce rates at more than one-half of all marriages, it simply makes sense to have a prenup even if you have little property at the time of marriage.

What Does A Prenup Do?

There are many things a prenup can do, and several things it cannot do. A prenup can:

  • Settle property division questions. Property division is the source of most contentious issues in divorces. A prenuptial agreement settles these questions quickly by outlining exactly how property will be divided in the future. For example, a prenup may involve how any future marital home will be disposed of in the event of a divorce and what property couples are entitled to keep individually.
  • Help partners agree on guardianship issues. If couples draw up a will when they make a prenup, they then can establish trusts for future children, as well as, establish guardianship of the children with grandparents or other parties.
  • Specify certain conditions. Some prenups are designed with special provisions. For example, one set of circumstances may apply if one partner is incarcerated. While another set of circumstances may apply if both partners are free at the time of the divorce. Some different circumstance required may be how bills are to be paid if one or both get sick, injured or dies.

Prenups are unable to affect the following conditions, however:

  • Child support. Only courts can decide child support. Prenups cannot specify particular amounts of child support to be paid in the event of a divorce.
  • Child custody. Prenups cannot allow the partners to agree to custody issues before a divorce. Only a judge can ultimately order child custody and will do so based on the circumstances at the time of the divorce.
  • Changes in property division law. If a prenup is written prior to a change in the law regarding property division, the terms of the prenup may be affected. However, many states “grandfather” in agreements made prior to a change in the law, so the circumstances will determine if the prenup’s conditions still stand.

A California divorce attorney can help you draft a solid prenuptial agreement that will protect your current and future interests in case of a divorce. With the help of a California divorce attorney, couples can reach an agreement that protects both parties from undue financial losses.