Prenuptial Agreements Attorneys in Livermore, California
Prenuptial agreements have unfairly earned a reputation for being harbingers of anticipated marital failure that leaves one spouse with all the assets and the other spouse destitute. This poor reputation is unfortunate. Marital agreements, when created properly, can provide protection for both spouses and make a divorce down the road — if it happens — less complicated to negotiate.
It is no surprise that given the fact that about half of all marriages end in divorce, a couple may want to have a plan if it happens to them. A solid prenuptial agreement won’t hasten the end of a union but may reveal each person’s priorities prior to the marriage and offer comfort in knowing what will happen if they end up in the divorced 50%.
The key to eliminating the misunderstood nature of marital agreements and the anxiety that often accompanies them is knowledge. At Crumpley & Crumpley PC, we are dedicated to helping our clients understand the benefits of prenuptial agreements and how to negotiate one in their best interests. If you want to learn more about them, we can help. We serve clients in Livermore, California, as well as Walnut Creek, Danville, Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, Hayward, Castro Valley, and Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
What Should a Prenuptial Agreement Cover?
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are marital agreements that address many issues. Signing a prenuptial agreement occurs before a couple’s wedding, and a postnuptial agreement is signed after they have been wed.
A prenuptial agreement states each spouse’s rights and responsibilities during the marriage and expresses how their assets, debts, and other property will be divided should they divorce or how they’ll be distributed as part of their estate plans. The agreement should protect each individual’s rights to separate and community property, distribute debts and liabilities fairly and could provide for the ongoing support of the less wealthy spouse after divorce in the form of alimony.
Some prenuptial agreements may have contingencies based on each party’s behavior during the marriage. They may also set forth what happens to separate property and inheritance should one spouse die during the marriage. For example, a spouse who started a business prior to the marriage may pass the business to a child from a previous marriage rather than to the current spouse.
A couple may not include a child custody or child support agreement in the prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a contract between the spouses. Child support and custody are the child’s rights and neither the child nor the court are parties to that agreement.
Marital agreements may be modified at any time, so long as both spouses agree to the revisions and sign a written agreement acknowledging acceptance.
Who Should Sign a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements may be useful legal instruments for many reasons, including:
They can protect the assets and wealth accumulated by a party prior to the marriage;
They can provide ongoing support for the less-wealthy party should the marriage end;
They can assign responsibility for the repayment of debts to the party who incurred it prior to marriage;
They can assign assets to heirs from relationships prior to the marriage; and,
They can facilitate discussion and disclosure of all assets and debts of each party prior to the marriage.
The point of a prenuptial agreement should not be to punish the spouse with less wealth. Rather, the point should be to protect the interests and the futures of both spouses should the marriage end in divorce. So long as the agreement accomplishes this, both parties should be willing to sign a prenuptial agreement.
Why Are Marital Agreements Important?
The benefits of a prenuptial agreement depend on how it is written and the content therein. In general, they can:
Establish clear and specific boundaries before a couple enters the marriage which should relieve some of the pressure of marriage and divorce;
Provide the opportunity for open and honest conversations about financial priorities, commitment to the marriage, and goals personal to each spouse; and,
Protect both spouses should the agreement be necessary.
Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable in California?
Prenuptial agreements are enforceable in California, so long as they comply with the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. The Act standardizes enforceability among those states which have adopted it. A prenuptial agreement that will not stand up in court is useless, so work with a family law attorney experienced in crafting them.
In general, these agreements are enforceable if:
They are in writing and signed by both parties, each being of age and having the mental capacity to enter into such an agreement, without duress, fraud, or coercion;
Each party has sufficient opportunity to have their own attorney review the agreement and counsel them prior to signing it;
The agreement is reasonably fair to both parties;
The couple actually does wed after signing the agreement, rendering it in effect; and,
Both parties fully disclosed all assets and liabilities so the agreement reflects an honest and accurate accounting of them.
Prenuptial Agreements Attorneys Serving Livermore, California
When considering a prenuptial agreement, make sure your best interests are protected by retaining your own family law attorney to monitor disclosure, participate in the drafting of the agreement, and review it fully before you sign. At Crumpley & Crumpley PC, we value nothing more than protecting our clients in Livermore, California, and surrounding communities. Call Crumpley & Crumpley PC now to schedule a consultation. We are ready to help protect you and your future.