Most people gain their initial familiarity with prenuptial agreements when they hear dramatic stories about celebrities or other very wealthy people who have been forced to pay out large financial settlements to their ex-spouses, even in cases where the marriages were short lived. Often, their predicament happened because they neglected to sign a prenuptial agreement before the marriage. Some people look at prenuptial agreements as something that might jinx a marriage, as it indicates that the couple plans to fail at their marriage.
But actually, whether a couple has money when they first get married shouldn’t be the deciding factor when it comes to whether or not they sign an agreement. It is simply a precautionary step that assures that the couple is on the same page regarding their finances before they actually tie the knot. It is best to leave as much emotion and preconceived notions out of the process as possible and work out the details at least four months before the wedding, if possible. Then, the agreement becomes one less thing to worry about as the more celebratory provisions are made.
Who Should Consider a Prenuptial Agreement?
While there are few people who wouldn’t benefit from a prenuptial agreement, there are some that are more drawn to the idea than others. Wealthy people are obvious candidates, but another group that often works out these agreements is older couples. Many of these couples have been married before, and they often have children of their own or even other family members that they want to care for financially. One of the things that can be accomplished by a prenup is that it can preserve a person’s right to divide their assets to persons other than their spouse as they see fit. The whole idea of “what’s mine is yours” doesn’t carry as much importance as it does for some other couples.
No matter how old a couple is when they get married, many simply want to keep their own financial independence. There may be some things, such as a home, that they purchase together, but they want to earn their own incomes and claim ownership to the things they acquire from the money they earn or even from personal gifts they receive. A prenuptial agreement can outline what possessions or debts should be shared, and which should stay separated. Debts apply to this equation as well. If a divorce does happen, no one likes to take on the responsibility of someone else’s poor spending and credit decisions. Often, a prenup can limit this responsibility and make it easier to start over if the marriage does end.
Provisions of Prenuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement is an important legal document, and deciding what to put into it takes careful consideration. The Law Office of Steven L. Fritsch in Carlsbad, California offers free consultations to individuals or couples who wish to discuss what sorts of provisions may be appropriate for a prenuptial agreement given their own circumstances. A lawyer can also help couples take the proper precautions to make sure that the document stays valid and let them know their options if they decide to alter the details of their agreement at any time during their marriage.
While the document is binding, there are instances where parts of it may be questioned. California law makes certain provisions that are meant to protect everyone concerned and give them the freedom to change their mind. It is not enforceable if one of the people did not voluntarily agree to the terms of the prenup or if they were not provided with fair and reasonable disclosure regarding financial obligations or property of the other person. Some agreements can also be overturned if they are made when one or both persons are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or even if they are made during a woman’s pregnancy, where some emotions might be considered unstable.
To discuss what a prenuptial agreement might look like to you, contact the Law Office of Steven L. Fritsch today.