Whether you are in the early stages of wedding planning or years into your marriage, you should consider signing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. According to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, close to two-thirds of lawyers surveyed saw an increase in clients seeking prenuptial agreements over the last three years. Prenuptial agreements are basically seen as contracts and will generally be upheld in court, so it is important to make sure these agreements is drafted correctly.
As a community property state, California considers assets acquired and debts incurred during the course of marriage as jointly held. In your agreement, you may choose to indicate that each of your assets and liabilities are separate throughout the marriage. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can also help determine how your property is distributed upon your or your spouse's death. If you already have an estate plan in place from a previous marriage, this will also need to be addressed in your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Many people are reluctant to enter these agreement because they are often seen as unromantic. However, even if you plan to stay with your spouse forever, it is important to prepare for the worst-case scenario. A prenuptial agreement can save you and your spouse from a difficult divorce by spelling out exactly what would happen to your assets, finances, and debts upon separation. By having a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, you and your spouse can obtain peace of mind with regards to the future, no matter what happens.
To find out if a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is right for you, consult with a family law attorney. Your attorney can help you put together all documentation required, including proof of all assets, incomes, and valuations of property. You and your spouse may also benefit from each getting your own attorney to ensure that someone is looking out for both of your best interests.