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What to Include in a Prenuptial Agreement

young man an woman signing a prenuptial agreement

Prenuptial agreements are no longer exclusively for the rich and the famous, if they ever were. Signing a prenup may be a wise decision for most families, and they are becoming increasingly common across groups from all walks of life. If you are getting married and are interested in signing a prenup with your future spouse, read on for a discussion of what a typical prenup may include. Call an experienced Claremont prenuptial agreement attorney to discuss your pending nuptials and for help protecting your family with a proper prenuptial agreement.

Directions for Property Distribution Upon Divorce

A prenup can be used to presumptively identify which property and types of property will be considered separate and which will be considered part of the marital estate. A prenup can, for example:

● Establish that family heirlooms or businesses are kept out of a potential divorce
● Dictate that the house, car, or other assets will go to one party
● Establish protection for retirement plans, stocks, business interests, and other complex assets
● Establish provisions for life insurance and other policies for each party’s benefit, and the benefit of current or future children
● Manage joint bank accounts and bills
● Restrict each party to the income they personally earn during the marriage

Protection Against Other Spouse’s Debt

A prenup can ensure that neither party is responsible for the other spouse’s existing debt, be it medical debt, student loans, car payments, mortgage, or any other form of debt.

Spousal Support

A prenup can set terms for spousal support or alimony in the event of divorce. There are limitations, and a California court will evaluate any such provisions to ensure that they are not grossly unfair (such as if one spouse is left without a living income).

Provisions for Children from a Previous Marriage

A prenup can establish protections for children from a previous marriage. The prenup may dictate that certain property or rights will go to the preexisting kids, even if the parents eventually divorce.

What Cannot be Included

There are a few items that cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement, or at least that California courts will not enforce. Prenuptial agreement provisions that California courts will not enforce include:

Child custody or child support decisions. The court will evaluate the family’s circumstances and decide child custody and child support at the time of divorce unless the parties settle on an agreement. These issues cannot be decided ahead of time via prenuptial agreement.
Provisions detailing any illegal conduct. Prenups, like any other contract, cannot dictate that any party commit a crime.
Waiver of right to alimony. Courts will typically throw out a provision completely eliminating alimony, although a provision setting a certain level of alimony might be enforced if a court deems it fair.
Personal, rather than financial, duties. Courts will typically not enforce personal or social provisions included in a prenup, such as the division of household chores, decisions about where to spend the holidays, decisions about child-rearing, or other non-economic issues. Parties can choose to include them in a prenup, but these provisions will not have the force of law.

Speak with a knowledgeable California family law attorney to discuss your circumstances and explore how a prenup may benefit your marriage, or reach out for help with alimony, child support, divorce, or any other family law matter in the San Gabriel Valley or Los Angeles County by contacting the Claremont offices of Blasser Law at 877-927-2181.

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