With various publications about a prenuptial agreement and what it can do to protect spouses in a divorce such as this article, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/perfi/basics/2010-03-08-prenups08_CV_N.htm, many people believe that a prenuptial or premarital agreement is the answer to their financial worries. However, there is a general misconception about the purpose and legal force of a prenuptial agreement in California. Thus, before you bring up the word “prenup” to your future spouse, take a minute to read this article to see whether you will be protected via a “prenuptial agreement.”
First and foremost, it is unlikely that you will need a prenuptial agreement to protect the assets you already own prior to the marriage. California law provides that the assets owned by an individual before his or her marriage will remain the separate property of that individual. Moreover, unless the assets are commingled with community property or received benefits from community effort, services or funds during the course of the marriage, they will remain the separate property of that individual.
Similarly, gifts or inheritance received by a spouse before and during the marriage will remain the separate property of that spouse. However, the receiving spouse must take care not to commingle the gifts or inheritances with community property because such action may change the nature of the property.
Most importantly, a prenuptial agreement will unlikely create a binding agreement as to the future payments of child support between the spouses. Such contract violates public policy and is generally unenforceable.
While a prenuptial agreement is not necessary to protect the foregoing types of assets or child support obligation, it is a great tool that can be used to eliminate the creation of community property during a marriage and future spousal support obligations between spouses. It can also be used to eliminate the spouses’ right to inherit from each other’s estate. Some people firmly believe that prenuptial agreements, although can be quite unromantic, act to ensure that each spouse maintains their financially independence and reduce the likelihood of a divorce.
If you are interested in learning more about what you can do a prenuptial agreement, contact Regal Law Office, APC at (310) 212-7109 for consultation.
****The opinion above is not intended to be legal advice and absolutely does not create any attorney-client relationship between its author and the readers. Please consult an attorney for information or advice specific to your legal issue.****
Regal Law Office
21151 S. Western Ave. Suite 225
Torrance, CA 90501