Do I Need a Prenuptial Agreement?

Contrary to popular belief, prenuptial agreements are not just for the extremely wealthy. These days, these legally-binding contracts are becoming increasingly popular, especially among people who’ve been through a divorce before.

While prenups are essential for high net worth individuals, they are also valuable to budding entrepreneurs, business owners, and people with children from a previous relationship. They are also important to people who for one reason or another, wish to disinherit their future spouse – often because the new spouse doesn’t want or need the money and the individual would rather the money go elsewhere.

Aren’t Prenuptial Agreements Unromantic?

Many engaged men and women view prenuptial agreements as unromantic, so out of fear of upsetting their fiancé, they never draw one up. Then, years down the road when they do file for divorce, they are filled with regret and wish they had drawn one up.

While prenups are typically viewed as unromantic, not everyone views them that way. They actually help engaged couples open up about their finances. They foster honesty and transparency, and many people find that attractive in a partner.

Advantages of a Prenuptial Agreement

If you are wealthy, marrying someone who is wealthy, or if you’re a business owner, or someone with children from a previous relationship, you should consider drafting a prenuptial agreement. Or, if you’re already married, a postnuptial agreement, which is essentially the same thing but it’s drafted afterthe marriage.

Let’s look at the advantages of a prenuptial agreement:

  1. It can determine which property remains “separate property” in the event of a divorce.
  2. It can make the divorce much more efficient.
  3. It can govern the amount and length of spousal support payments instead of leaving it up to a judge to decide.
  4. A well-drafted agreement can dramatically drive down the court costs and legal fees associated with the divorce.
  5. A prenup can reduce the chances of divorce litigation.
  6. It can help you avoid a costly, protracted divorce battle with an uncertain outcome.
  7. It can ensure that both spouses walk away with a fair settlement.
  8. You and your fiancé control the outcome of any possible divorce proceedings; neither of you are at the mercy of the court.
  9. Instead of having to abide by California’s community property laws where you each have a 50 percent interest in marital property, you can deviate from the state’s 50/50 guidelines and reach your own agreement.
  10. If you own a business, the prenup can state that it shall remain your separate property.

Note:Prenuptial agreements cannot govern child custody or child support, but they can address property division and spousal support.

To learn more about executing a prenup or postnup, contact our Orange County divorce and family law firm today.