While prenuptial agreements (also known as premarital agreements or prenups) tend to have a negative connotation, they are a great way for you and your partner to discuss important financial implications of marriage. While many divorces can be financially and emotionally devastating, a prenup can prevent a lot of turmoil if your marriage ends unexpectedly. Think of a prenup as a divorce emergency plan that you and your spouse put together ahead of time.
Why Do I Need a Prenuptial Agreement?
California is a community property state, and unless you enter into a prenuptial agreement, your spouse is entitled to one-half of all the community property. That means anything that you and your spouse acquire during marriage will be split evenly upon divorce. This includes your house, car, salary, savings, retirement plans, and more. There are a few exceptions such as inheritance or gifts, but the majority of everything you own would be cut in half. A prenuptial agreement can modify this 50% community property interest to reflect what you and your spouse prefer. While divorce law takes a one-size-fits-all approach, a prenuptial agreement is your opportunity to customize the asset arrangements for your marriage.
Will a Prenup Jinx My Marriage?
Clients often express their concern that creating a prenup will make divorce more likely. This is definitely not the case. Just like preparing an estate plan will not cause you to die sooner, a prenup is merely an emergency plan that lays out what should happen if your marriage unexpectedly ends. Think of your prenup as divorce insurance without monthly premiums. In actuality, many couples find that discussing finances, bills, marital expectations, and assets is helpful in creating a solid foundation at the start of their marriage.
How Do I Create a Prenup?
Prenuptial agreements are easy to create. You and your partner will need to meet with a legal professional and discuss the terms of the prenup. Many couples prefer to meet with a mediator instead of an attorney. With an experienced mediator, each party can feel involved in the creation of the prenup and fully understand the final terms. After the prenup is drafted, each party seeks their own independent attorney to review the agreement. This ensures that both parties feel that the agreement terms are fair and reasonable. Each person signs the agreement, and the prenup is complete!
If you have questions regarding prenuptial agreements and wish to speak to one of our experienced San Diego mediators, contact SDFMC today at (858) 736-2411.