What to Include in a Prenuptial Agreement
Prenuptial agreements are one of the most useful marriage planning tools available, especially in community property states like California. Despite common misconceptions about them (e.g., they’re only for rich people, they encourage divorce, etc.), many couples could benefit from the certainty that prenuptial agreements can provide. But prenuptial agreements must be carefully drafted to ensure that they take into account each couple’s unique circumstances. Below are some of the most common provisions that Stockton prenuptial agreement attorneys include when drafting such agreements.
Premarital Assets and Debts
All couples enter into marriage with their own separate assets and liabilities. While this property remains separate property after marriage, even premarital separate property can continue to affect a couple’s finances. For example, a spouse who owns a house prior to the marriage must continue to make mortgage payments on the house during the marriage. Prenuptial agreements should include provisions for how premarital assets and liabilities will be managed during the marriage.
Marital Assets and Debts
California is a community property state, which means that most property acquired by either spouse during the marriage will be considered marital property and will be subject to 50/50 division upon divorce. Couples can circumvent those default rules by specifying that certain property acquired during the marriage will not be marital property. They can also adjust the division scheme, such as by specifying that a certain asset will be divided 70/30 rather than 50/50.
Children From Previous Marriages
Prenuptial agreements generally may not contain provisions related to child support, child custody, or visitation. However, spouses who have children from previous marriages often make provisions for them in their prenuptial agreements to ensure that they receive an inheritance in the event of their death. Of course, this can also be accomplished through a will, but including this information in a prenuptial agreement provides an extra layer of protection.
Child support provisions may not be included in a prenuptial agreement, but the same rule does not apply to alimony provisions. Spouses may make provisions concerning alimony in their prenuptial agreements, either by setting the alimony at a certain amount or waiving it entirely. However, each spouse must be represented by an independent counsel for provisions concerning alimony to be enforceable.
Business valuations and asset division are among the most complex issues in divorce law, particularly in high-asset divorces. Couples who own a business prior to getting married should address whether the business itself, its earnings, and any money invested into it by either spouse will be considered separate property or marital property. The agreement should also address how the business will be divided upon divorce (if at all) and any necessary business succession plans.
Draft a Prenuptial Agreement that Works for You With Help From a Stockton Prenuptial Agreement Attorney
Just as no two marriages are alike, no two prenuptial agreements are alike. The best prenuptial agreement for any couple is one that is drafted to address their specific circumstances. For more information about prenuptial agreements, please contact the Stockton prenuptial agreement attorneys at McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau by using our online form or calling us at 209-477-8171.