Couples plan their weddings in exquisite detail, from the flower arraignments to the wedding band. Why wouldn’t you take the same care with your financial future? A prenup is a practical step that many California couples use to clarify the relationship before it becomes legally formalized as a marriage. If you’re weighing whether to ask your beloved to sign a prenuptial agreement, or you’re just confused and intrigued by the process, and you want to learn more, explore the following “quick start” guide for insight.
How to Get a Prenup in California
Frustratingly, many California couples believe that prenups “are just for the rich.” That’s definitely not true. You might need a prenup if:
- You have assets from a previous marriage that you want passed to your children from that marriage;
- You want to establish financial rights over key business or personal assets;
- You want to plan for every possible contingency, including an amicable divorce, to avoid negative situations in the future or debates and disputes over property and business rights;
- You want to protect a spouse from your debt or vice versa.
Drafting Your Prenup
You technically have the option of writing a prenup on your own. However, a qualified attorney can listen to your unique set of needs and wants and draft an agreement that’s fair for both parties.
Although you and your fiancé plan to share your life together, join your finances and merge families, you should both hire separate attorneys to review the prenup. This process protects both of you from entering into unfair agreements, and the courts will be more likely to honor an arrangement if both parties scrutinized it separately with independent legal counsel advising.
Should You Hire an Attorney?
In California, as we discussed, you can draft your own prenup. However, doing so often leads to big problems. Consider the case of Hollywood A-lister, Steven Spielberg. When he divorced actress, Amy Irving, she claimed their prenup wasn’t valid because it was written on the back of a napkin. A judge agreed with Irving’s argument, and that decision ultimately cost Spielberg $100 million.
While most people lack sizable assets and debts prior to marriage, Spielberg’s result should read as a powerful cautionary tale. Ask a qualified California family law lawyer draft, or at least review, your prenup to ensure its efficacy. (Spielberg, for his part, learned his lesson. When he remarried again years after divorcing Irving, he and his fiancé involved lawyers when drafting the prenup.)
Will Your Fiancé Be Concerned or Offended by Your Request to Get a Prenuptial Agreement?
Discussing the possibility of creating a pre-marriage agreement can be tricky business, even if you and your fiancé openly communicate and inherently trust one another. On the one hand, you want to protect your assets (and protect your partner from your debts). On the other hand, you want to avoid starting the marriage out on the wrong tone. Our team can help you navigate the process seamlessly. Please call or email us to schedule a time to talk about the agreement.