So you and your romantic partner have decided to get married. Hooray! In most cases, this is an all-around wonderful thing. Certainly, there can be times when unexpected pregnancies, family pressures, and financial or citizenship concerns push the marriage process along a bit sooner than might otherwise have occurred, but it’s safe to assume you and your partner love and care about one another enough to commit to matrimony. But in the planning and leading up to the wedding, you might get a question from your spouse that you weren’t expecting: will you sign a prenup? Maybe your instinct is to be offended, or perhaps confused, or not even sure whether you should be offended or not.
You are absolutely entitled to any feeling you might have at this moment (and it should go without saying you’re absolutely entitled to decline to sign a prenuptial agreement, too), but there are a number of misconceptions people still have about prenuptial agreements that are worth clearing up before taking any personal or legal actions on the issue.
Prenuptial Agreements Provide Benefits to Both Parties
First, a brief explanation on what exactly a prenuptial agreement is. Without a prenuptial agreement, couples who decide to divorce must figure out how to split up all of their assets (including real estate, businesses, retirement accounts, and intangible assets) as well as determine how much spousal support should be paid and for how long. And if they can’t, a judge will make these decisions for them. In the drama of a marital breakdown, this can often involve long, drawn out arguments between spouses who are just trying to move on with their lives, permanent emotional scars, expensive lawyer bills, and lengthy courtroom delays.
With a prenuptial agreement, both spouses are calmly and rationally figuring these issues out way before any discord or tension arises, and are working together to make sure that both spouses will have financial security and stability no matter what happens. The spouses can enter into marriage knowing that neither party will have the leverage to take drastic and unexpected action one day, and the peace-of-mind of knowing their futures are both secured regardless of what happens.
You Can’t Sign a Prenup Without Your Own Lawyer
Another misconception is that prenuptial agreements are a way for one legally or financially sophisticated spouse to take advantage of the other spouse to get that person to “sign their rights away.” Under California law, both spouses must be represented by their own attorney in making a prenuptial agreement. Your attorney is solely concerned with your interests and security, and so an experienced family law attorney in your corner will only recommend that you sign a prenuptial agreement if it treats you fairly under applicable California law.
Get Answers to Your California Prenuptial Agreement Questions
Again, it’s up to you whether or not to feel offended by the request to sign a prenuptial agreement, but it is the case that plenty of couples in California have created prenuptial agreements as part of their efforts to build a stable and secure future for one another. To schedule a consultation regarding any questions about prenuptial agreements, contact one of the family law attorneys at Kearney Baker today!