Prenuptial Agreement – Meaning
A prenuptial agreement, (often called a prenup) is a contract in which two people who intend to marry each
other, enter prior to marriage.
The content of the prenuptial agreement outlines the provisions for:
- Division and ownership of property and debts acquired before and during the marriage
- Spousal support
- Property inheritance in case of divorce or breakup of the marriage.
Over 50 percent of marriages in the US end with divorce. A prenuptial agreement is a powerful tool to
protect what you rightfully own in the unfortunate, but sadly often, event of divorce or breakup of a
Prenuptial agreements protect your assets and are a powerful tool for limiting the parties’ rights to
property and alimony, and if drafted and executed properly, are very hard to set aside.
Necessity for a Prenuptial Agreement
We’re often asked:‘Should I get a prenup?’
Anyone who is about to enter a marriage or a civil union, and has assets he/she wants to protect, is eligible for a prenup. From a technical point of view, by drafting a prenuptial agreement with strong and well-defined terms, you can protect any asset you own from being divided in case of divorce.
If we have to be specific in answering who should get a prenup, then we’d say:
- If you’re lined up to receive a huge inheritance;
- If you own or co-own a business or more businesses;
- If you own real estates, stocks or huge savings;
- If you expect to receive a large income increase; or
- If you want to avoid paying spousal support in the event of a divorce.
Prenuptial Agreement Pros
Protecting what you have obtained before you enter a marriage is the strongest and most obvious advantage of getting a prenup. In addition:
- In the unfortunate event of divorce, a well-drafted and properly executed prenup can speed up the litigation or even help you to entirely avoid it. Divorce litigation is stressful and costly, which is a scenario you want to avoid.
- A prenup can protect your credit rating. The credit rating is extremely important for functioning well and uninterrupted in today’s society. And not being suitable for a credit after a nasty divorce is not something you should risk. Having a prenuptial agreement will protect you from taking the liabilities from potential debts of your ex-spouse, paying alimony and child support for the children you may have from the now dysfunctional marriage.
- Division of assets is simplified. With a prenup, both you and your spouse, will have a clear picture of which assets you own are marital, and which aren’t.
- Inheritance rights of your children or grandchildren from a previous marriage, can be protected with a prenup.
- Your business or private practice will be left untouched, if you have a strong prenup stating that it is a non-marital asset.
- A well-drafted prenup can define what happens to a spouse if the other dies before him/her.
- Finally, it’s a fair deal between two people that protects both from the “marriage for the sake of marriage” attitude and the consequences from it.
Types of Prenuptial Agreements
There are two most common types of California prenuptial agreements: marriage prenups and cohabitation agreements. Explained in the simplest way possible, a marriage prenup is a contract made between two people who are about to get married, while unmarried couples can always sign a cohabitation agreement.
Contact Us to learn more about the legal power of both types of agreements in California.
Prenuptial Agreements in California
In California, prenups are regulated and enforced under the UPAA, or the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. This act states that a prenup signed by two spouses is effective from the moment they get married. After 2002, this act was amended, and as such, includes articles that explain when an agreement will be enforced against a spouse. These situations are:
- when the spouse had full and correct information about the other spouse’s property and finances prior to signing the contract;
- when the spouse was given at least 7 days between receiving the contract and signing it, so his/her lawyer can analyze the agreement;
- was represented by a separate attorney when signing the agreement, unless the spouse:
- received full information in writing about the terms and basic effect of the agreement, including any rights and obligations the agreement would nullify, and
- signed a separate document acknowledging receipt of such information, identifying the person who provided the information, and expressly waiving the right to an attorney.
In addition, in order for the provisions in the agreement to be enforceable, spouses must be represented by a California licensed lawyer. Otherwise, any provisions affecting the rights to future alimony or other spousal support, will not be enforceable.
Cost of Prenup Agreements
There’s a famous saying that a prenup costs as half as your engagement ring. Which can be true to some extent. However, if you have to pay a small amount of money online and gain nothing of an advice in return, you wouldn’t want to spend even that would you?
We at California Prenuptial Agreements Group don’t just state a price. We evaluate your own situation and what you currently have in your marriage or premarital situation. We analyze and strategize along with you to create the best solution for protecting your interests.
Contact Us to schedule your consultation and get a personalized quote that fits your unique situation.
What type of lawyer does prenuptial agreements?
Lawyers who practice family law can do your prenuptial agreement. It’s highly advisable for both parties to have separate lawyers handling their prenups. Family law attorneys can also assist you with matters such as divorce/separation annulment, pre/post-nuptial agreement, mediation, spousal support, custody, adoption, paternity and name change.
Does a prenuptial agreement have to be witnessed or notarized?
Technically, neither witnesses nor a notary is needed for a prenup to be legally binding and viable. However, it’s common practice for the prenuptial agreement to be notarized so that the possibility for denying the signature by either party is completely eliminated.
Should all assets be disclosed prior to signing the agreement?
Yes, all assets and liabilities must be disclosed prior to signing the agreement. Otherwise the agreement will be challenged in court if it’s revealed that one of the parties didn’t disclose all assets and liabilities prior to signing the prenup.