While some Californians may believe that marriage is supposed to last forever, prenuptial agreements help prepare for the fact that it often does not. Prenuptial agreements provide a safeguard in the event that divorceoccurs.
Prenuptial agreements used to be only for extremely wealthy individuals who were concerned about splitting half of their assets with a former spouse. However, this is not the case today. In fact, a 2011 survey found that there was a 73 percent increase in prenuptial agreements over a five-year period. With more people waiting until they are older to get married, they are more likely to bring significant assets — and debts — to the marriage.
Prenuptial agreements set out the terms of a marriage contract. In the event of a divorce, the provisions in the prenuptial agreement will take precedence over California divorce rules pertaining to property division. Prenuptial agreements can help individuals protect their assets. They can specifically state which assets each spouse will receive in the event of divorce as well as set parameters regarding spousal support. If a person wishes to pass a certain item or amount of income to children from a former marriage, a prenuptial agreement can be used. They can also help protect assets like retirement accounts or inheritances. Prenuptial agreements can also protect future spouses from incurring their partners’ debts, such as credit card debt or student loan debt.
When a couple is considering getting a prenuptial agreement, each spouse must usually have his or her own California family law attorney to protect his or her assets. In addition to assisting with prenuptial agreements, family law attorneys may help both parties achieve an amicable divorce settlement if the marriage ultimately goes sour..
Source: CBS News, “Why a prenup may be right for you“, Mellody Hobson, May 29, 2013