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Joseph R. Zoucha, Attorney & Counselor at Law

How do my fiancé and I go about signing a prenup?

Pre-nuptial agreements are often a hot topic of contention among soon-to-be married couples in California. Some people say that prenups serve as a back-up plan in case the marriage doesn't work out. Others feel that signing a prenup implies that you are thinking about divorce even before you get married, and worry that the process of negotiating the agreement may cause too much stress for the couple to overcome.

However, some experts say that prenuptial agreements may in fact have a positive effect on your relationship, if done the right way. They suggest that couples address the issue as soon as possible after their engagement. While this topic may be hard to bring up, it may benefit your relationship, as it will force you and your soon-to-be spouse to talk about your finances, children, job goals, and other important issues.

Once you have had that discussion, it is time to begin the process. Wedding planning can be stressful, so make sure that this prenuptial agreement doesn't add more stress by breaking it down into manageable pieces. First, both of you may hire an attorney to advocate on your behalf throughout the process and handle any complications that arise. As you hire an attorney, remember that prenuptial agreements are not divorces. In a divorce, attorneys are often more aggressive to make sure their client gets whatever they want. The attorney you choose should understand that prenups are very different in that the focus should be on protecting the relationship and making sure that both parties are happy.

Handing your fiancé a finalized prenuptial agreement and asking them to sign it may cause an argument and pit you against each other. Instead, talk to your attorneys separately and come together to generally discuss the terms of the agreement. Once you have discussed what should be included, the attorneys can come up with a first draft and negotiate until a final agreement is reached. Ideally, the final agreement will make both you and your future spouse feel like your needs and concerns have been addressed and allow you to confidentially walk down the aisle.

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