Getting married is one of the happiest occasions of your life. As you approach your day of wedded bliss, it’s natural to want to think that things will last forever. Planning for divorce is probably the farthest thing from your mind.
When your future spouse asks you to sign a prenup, it can feel like a slap in the face. Many people see a prenup as an act of pessimism, or a sign that the parties expect the marriage to fail before it even starts. But take heart—entering into a prenup doesn’t mean that your marriage is doomed. Prenuptial agreements are very common, and they can offer couples some much-needed financial and emotional stability if things don’t work out the way they hope.
Of course, the decision to sign a prenup is entirely up to you; no one should force you to sign one if you truly don’t want to. However, before you decline your partner’s request, there are some advantages of prenups that you might want to consider.
Like any other contract, a prenuptial agreement is a purely legal document meant to provide a framework for the future. Let’s be honest—divorce can be downright ugly. Having an agreement in place that dictates how some of the most crucial matters of the split will be handled can provide structure and security during an uncertain time.
There are two chief reasons people sign prenups:
- Financial stability – The main reason couples elect to enter into prenuptial agreements is to provide a framework for handling finances in the event of a marital split. Particularly in a community property state like California, getting divorced without a prenup means that each spouse gets an equal share of whatever are deemed community assets.
- This can be problematic and lead to major financial losses for someone who contributed significantly more to the marriage than his or her spouse did. A prenup can address these inequities and provide a division of property that might seem more fair to both parties, by clearly distinguishing what is community property and what is separate property. It can also help you protect specific items of property that you wouldn’t want to see split down the road.
- Avoiding conflict – The other great benefit of having a prenup is that it can reduce the amount of conflict in what is naturally a contentious situation. Let’s face it—most divorces involve a lot of arguing, often about things that don’t really matter, due to feelings of anger and frustration. Given the potential for emotions to take over, having the important decisions set in advance can reduce a lot of stress.
- One of the biggest points of contention can be spousal support. California law allows spousal support to be outlined in a prenup; agreeing to these parameters when you’re not in the midst of a traumatic split can help ensure the parties enter into an agreement they both think is fair.
How an Experienced Divorce Attorney Can Help
If you find the idea of signing a prenup to be off-putting, you’re not alone. Many people react negatively when they’re first approached with the idea. The important thing is to set your emotions aside and consider the practical consequences of signing or not signing. Only then will you be able to decide if a prenup is right for you.
This is not a decision you have to make on your own. The experienced divorce attorneys at the Kearney Baker Law Office have over 70 years experience handling all aspects of California marriages and divorces, and are here to guide you through the process. If you’re considering signing a prenup, contact us today for an initial consultation.