PREMARITAL (PRENUPTIAL) AGREEMENTS
Most people think only the rich and famous need prenuptial agreements. However, in the light of the high rates of marriage breakup and divorces in society these days, the stark truth is that anyone contemplating getting married needs to consider having a prenuptial agreement. Whether the real property, or personal property, or business assets that you will bring into the marriage are modest or substantial; or whether your current or future income generating capacity is modest or substantial, you stand to greatly benefit from having a prenuptial agreement in place before you get married.
In California which is a community property state, when a couple gets married without having a prenuptial agreement prepared and executed, they have by default elected or chosen that in the event that their marriage ends in divorce, their rights, responsibilities and obligations will be as set out and governed by California’s very complex and extensive set of community property laws, which are codified in the Family Code. The broad effect of community property law is that all property acquired during the marriage through the effort and skill of either spouse, together with any increase or appreciation of such property, belongs equally to both spouses together, regardless of which spouse’s effort or skill was involved. The implication is that the income and earnings of each spouse during marriage, is community property, and any property acquired using such earnings are also community property. Similarly, in most cases, both spouses are jointly liable for the debts and liabilities incurred by either or both spouses during the marriage.
A prenuptial agreement is an agreement that is entered into by two engaged individuals contemplating getting married, which takes effect after they get married, and in which they define the rules and limitations that will apply to their marital rights, responsibilities and obligations both during the marriage and when the marriage ends through divorce or death.
For couples contemplating getting into a marriage relationship, prudence dictates the execution of a prenuptial agreement before getting married is the right thing to do. Prenuptial agreements are important because they enable both parties to express and preserve their property expectations ahead of time, and avoid surprises in case of divorce. Prenuptial agreements can address the issue of ownership of property acquired before the date of marriage. It can also address the issues of income earned during the marriage, and ownership of property acquired during the marriage. Prenuptial agreements can address the issue of which party will be responsible for debts and liabilities incurred during the marriage. Prenuptial agreements can also address the issues of spousal support and rights/ benefits upon the death of either or both spouses. However prenuptial agreements cannot be used to address child custody and support issues.
Individuals who already have children and obligations from previous relationships, can even greater benefit from having prenuptial agreements because it can allow them protect and preserve property for their children from previous relationships. This particularly true for older couples.
If you decide to get married without the precaution of having a prenuptial agreement properly prepared and executed, you would in effect have chosen by default to have your marital rights, responsibilities and obligations governed by California’s community property laws.
Call the attorneys at Ihejirika Law Corporation to discuss and assist you with your matter. DON’T DELAY. CALL US TODAY TO DISCUSS YOUR CASE. (877) 472-6013, (916) 972-8774, or (916) 972-8779.