Joining together in marriage is a deeply emotional experience as well as a significant financial event. Couples who are thinking about marriage should consider whether a prenuptial agreement is right for them. While discussions about prenuptial agreements can be difficult, having a mutually beneficial agreement in place can grant you peace of mind and create trust and transparency between you and your partner.
Our team of experienced Los Angeles prenuptial agreement lawyers has years of experience helping couples draft strong prenuptial agreements tailored to their unique circumstances. Regardless of the complexity of your situation, we will work with you to ensure that all legal requirements are met to protect your interests and your assets. To learn more about how we can help, consider contacting Diaz Law Firm today at (626) 261-0402.
Our Practice & Core Values
At Diaz Law Firm, our practice is informed by our compassionate, client-centered approach. Above all, we strive to offer the highest quality legal representation to our clients to resolve their issues as smoothly and peacefully as possible. By advocating for our client’s interests both within and outside of the court system, we are better able to help them reach their goals. At our core, we believe in treating every person with equality, serving as partners with justice, creating peace, and practicing a healthy amount of self-criticism. This approach is what sets us apart from other firms and positions us as a leading family law firm in Los Angeles, California.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a written contract that couples enter into before marriage. Once the couple marries, the prenuptial agreement will become effective. Typically, these agreements outline each person’s debts and assets, and discuss how they will be handled should the couple get divorced. It is important to note that prenuptial agreements are legal documents, governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) in California.
A study from The Harris Poll reports that, in 2010, only 3% of Americans signed a prenuptial agreement. This number skyrocketed in 2022, with 15% of respondents reporting that they signed a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage. The same study indicated that 42% of Americans were in support of these agreements and 35% stated that they would be interested in signing one in the future.
What Are the Reasons for Signing a Prenuptial Agreement?
There are several reasons why a couple may want to sign a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage. Some of the most notable reasons for signing a prenuptial agreement include the following:
- You live in a community property state. In California, for example, property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is presumed to be owned by each spouse equally. This can make property division incredibly difficult in the event of divorce. A prenuptial agreement can clearly outline property ownership and how assets will be divided if you and your partner chose to separate at any point.
- To protect yourself from your partner’s debts. One of the most common reasons for using a prenuptial agreement is to protect one spouse from needing to pay the other spouse’s debts in case of divorce. Additionally, these agreements can specify how debts incurred during the marriage will be handled after divorce, if necessary.
- To avoid the potential of a messy, complicated divorce proceeding. Divorce can become emotionally and financially taxing. Having a plan in place for how assets, debts, and other issues will be handled can immensely relieve the pressure of divorce.
Above all, a good prenuptial agreement will be tailored to the unique needs and goals of the couple. It will safeguard both individuals in the marriage and serve as a safety net for the future. Your Los Angeles prenuptial agreement lawyer will work closely with you and your partner to ensure that your prenuptial agreement reflects your interests and protects your finances as fully as possible.
Is a Prenuptial Agreement the Same Thing as a Premarital Agreement?
Yes, a prenuptial agreement is the same thing as a premarital agreement. California law uses the term premarital agreement in all codes and regulations, but prenuptial agreement (or “prenup”) is much more commonly used colloquially.
What Can You Include in a Prenuptial Agreement?
One of the greatest benefits of a prenuptial agreement is that it can be personalized to meet your needs. Just like no two marriages look like, the same is true of prenuptial agreements. Having crafted numerous airtight agreements for our clients, these are seven elements that our Los Angeles premarital agreement attorneys most often include in prenuptial agreements:
- Premarital assets. In a prenuptial agreement, you and your partner can specify what is separate property and how community property will be divided in the event of a divorce.
- Premarital debts. This is a particularly important aspect to address in a prenuptial agreement, as debts can be a major source of stress during marriage and, in turn, a divorce. You can outline precisely how debts will be handled and protect either spouse from the other’s creditors.
- Spousal support. Also known as alimony, spousal support is often a highly contentious issue during divorce. You can discuss how spousal support payments will be issued, ensuring that neither spouse feels taken advantage of.
- Financial obligations. It is possible to outline how household expenses, retirement contributions, and debt payments will be handled over the course of your marriage.
- Provisions for children from prior relationships. Many individuals wish to specify how assets will be distributed to children in the event that either spouse passes away. Typically, this provision is used in tandem with a more comprehensive estate plan.
- Business revenue. Dividing a business can be highly burdensome. Outlining the value of the business now and in the future, as well as the contributions of each spouse to the business, is key. This information can help determine whether a spouse will get a certain percentage of the business in the event of divorce.
- Retirement accounts and other benefit plans. If you wish to keep retirement or other benefits accounts separate, this can be specified in your prenuptial agreement.
Can You Get a Marital Agreement After Marriage?
Yes, it is possible to get a marital agreement after marriage. Creating a “postnuptial agreement” has no time limit, as long as the agreement fulfills the legal requirements under California law. Postnuptial agreements can also be valuable when circumstances change in your marriage. For example, if one spouse incurs substantial debt or if either individual starts a successful business. In this way, different types of marital agreements can work in conjunction to protect your assets and financial interests.
Hiring a Los Angeles Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer Near You
Prenuptial agreements can provide much-needed protections that save a married couple time, stress, and thousands of dollars in court fees down the line. While these matters are sensitive, prenuptial agreements are a practical legal tool that can only benefit your marriage. Creating a valid and enforceable agreement requires legal knowledge and adherence to California law, however, which is why it is so important to seek assistance from an experienced Los Angeles prenuptial agreement lawyer. To learn more about how Diaz Law Firm can help, consider contacting our office at (626) 261-0402 today.