A pre-nuptial agreement, also known as a premarital agreement or "prenup," is a legal document stating each spouse's legal rights in the event of a divorce. Pre-nuptial agreements are an excellent choice for spouses who wish to protect their property rights.
This can be especially important when spouses want to keep businesses and other matters separate in the event that they choose to separate or divorce and want to minimize the arrangements that need to be made.
An Orange County divorce attorney may help you explore the options and benefits of negotiating a pre-nuptial agreement with your spouse.
As a legally binding document, the pre-nuptial agreement may cover issues such as:
Premarital Agreements Work for Marriages
Pre-nuptial agreements are becoming increasingly common. It is a great way for couples to communicate their wishes in regards to a marriage. When creating a pre-nuptial agreement, it is best for a couple to attend mediation. This will allow for the couple to discuss the important issues that surround a marriage and plan for the future.
Pre-nuptial agreements may minimize troubles that ensue with divorces, including:
- Attorney expenses
- Lengthy courtroom hearings
- Stress and emotional strain
- Unsatisfactory/unfair divorce arrangements
Pre-nuptial agreements do not always suggest a lack of trust. Remember that premarital agreements can be drafted to protect each spouse in a relationship, and not only a wealthy spouse.
With a pre-nuptial agreement in place, trusting spouses may still have their financial arrangements in order so that little time and energy are spent sorting through the steps of a divorce in the moment.
Make Preparations For The Future in Orange County
Like a will arrangement, premarital agreements may help you prepare for the unexpected. If you do not sign a pre-nuptial agreement, your marriage will be subject to the laws in the California Family Code.
By negotiating a premarital agreement, you and your spouse can have more control over individual assets and financial arrangements. You may not have that same privilege when the rules are imposed by the state.
The pre-nuptial agreement will allow for each spouse to pre-arrange their wishes in hopes of avoiding a negative and bitter divorce in the future, should one occur. Pre-nuptial agreements are not strictly for protecting yourself against a spouse, they are also valuable tools in amicable divorces and uncontested divorces.
Arrange Community and Separate Property
In California, if no premarital arrangements are in place, community property is divided equally in a divorce. With little exception, property that was acquired during marriage is considered community property, even if the property is in one party's name. Property owned before a marriage is considered separate property and will usually not be affected.
Community property usually includes the following:
- Real property acquired during the marriage
- Spousal income earned during the marriage
- Spousal debts incurred during the marriage
Separate property usually includes the following:
- Property acquired before the marriage
- Gifts received before or during the marriage
- Inheritances received before or during the marriage
A pre-nuptial agreement can ensure that community property is divided in a specific way, or that changes made to your separate property during a marriage do not become affected by community interest. Without premarital arrangements, it can be difficult and expensive to determine community and separate property effectively. Making arrangements prior to a divorce can work in the favor of all parties involved.
Consider Your Options with a Pre-Nuptial Agreement
Whether this is your first or subsequent marriage, having a prenuptial agreement is a great way to ensure that your future is well protected and decided upon on your own terms.
As an Orange County divorce lawyer and a board-certified family law attorney, I am able to act as a mediator and create a pre-nuptial agreement for couples looking to protect their rights prior to marriage. Work with me and ensure your interests are looked after.
If you are considering drafting a pre-nuptial agreement or need legal help in reviewing one, contact Kevin B. Gibbs, APLC today and speak with an experienced legal professional.
"I used Mr. Gibbs for my divorce. He was great, very knowledgeable and professional! He was excellent at letting me know the options I had and pointing me in the best direction. He was upfront and honest about outcomes. I was very happy with his service."Joshua Lott
"I could not have asked for a better experience in the midst of a bad situation than working with Mr. Gibbs. He was honest and fair and patient and kind."Rebecca Sterling
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