In California, persons contemplating marriage may agree to waive certain rights in a prenuptial agreement. While the idea of negotiating a future property settlement prior to the wedding may strike some as running counter to the spirit of the event, for many people premarital agreements (and even postnuptial agreements) make perfect sense.
A prenuptial agreement can be highly suitable for people in the following circumstances:
- Marrying for the first time later in life
- You have been married before
- You have children you want to provide for
- Disparity of income or accumulated wealth between the parties
If you need an experienced California family law attorney to review a proposed prenuptial agreement's terms, or you are wondering if a prenuptial agreement might work for you, contact the San Jose family law office of John S. Yohanan, an experienced family lawyer.
Difficulties or confusion may occur during a divorce that could have been prevented with a premarital agreement. A premarital agreement can define property. An agreement can provide that an existing business will always be treated as separate property. The agreement might also define or waive spousal support rights in the event of divorce. So long as what you seek to accomplish is not against public policy a prenuptial agreement can be drafted to meet your needs. Your attorney should be aware of what provisions do violate public policy.
In California, a postnuptial agreement operates much the same as a premarital agreement, but is not executed until after the marriage.
The main issues to bear in mind in preparing a prenuptial agreement are:
- Each party must disclose all of his or her assets.
- The agreement cannot vary or determine child support rights or obligations.
- The party who prepared the agreement must give the other party a reasonable opportunity for independent review of its terms with a lawyer.
If a premarital agreement is not prepared or executed according to California law, some or all of its terms might be invalidated, and substantial assets might lose their character as separate property. Similarly, a waiver of spousal support rights might be found to be ineffective.
If you have questions about a proposed prenuptial agreement prior to marriage, or if you are separated or divorcing with a premarital agreement in place, contact my law office for reliable advice about your rights and options.