Everything You Need to Know About Premarital Agreements
Getting engaged and planning a wedding is an exciting time in the life of a couple. Family and friends are celebrating with you as you prepare to begin your life together. Unfortunately, not every marriage will last. Most people do not enter into a marriage relationship planning for it to end in divorce, but it is important to be prepared for that potential outcome.
One way to ensure that both parties are protected and assets are divided fairly is to have a premarital agreement in place. A clear, well-developed premarital agreement will help ease the divorce process and guarantee that both parties receive their fair share of all assets. The experienced family law attorneys at Bickford Blado & Botros can help you craft a premarital agreement to meet both partners’ needs.
What Is a Premarital Agreement?
A premarital agreement is a written contract that two partners create prior to their marriage. This contract is legally binding but only takes effect when the couple is officially married. For the agreement to be valid, it must be in writing, and both parties are required to sign it.
Regardless of what assets a couple shares, a premarital agreement is something to consider prior to marriage. The agreement is a way for the partners to ensure that all assets are divided fairly if the marriage ends in divorce. These agreements in California are governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which regulates what can and cannot be included.
What to Include in a Premarital Agreement
There are no specific guidelines determining what must be included in a premarital agreement. The UPAA only requires that the agreement be:
- Voluntarily signed by both parties
- Signed with legal counsel
In most cases, the final decision of how assets will be divided will fall to the involved parties.
Each specific premarital agreement will be different, but there are certain things that are commonly included.
- Real estate
- Monetary assets
- Physical property
- Spousal support
All these and more can be aspects of a premarital agreement. The partners must work together to establish the best plan for themselves.
What to Leave Out of a Premarital Agreement
There are no specific requirements for what to include in a premarital agreement, but there are several things that cannot be included. A premarital agreement cannot limit or eliminate child support. The courts will always have the power to make the final decision on child support during a divorce, but the couple can decide to plan for more support than is required. They also cannot include or require anything illegal from either partner or include terms that are unjust or deceptive. Finally, premarital agreements cannot include any non-financial requirements for either party and cannot determine the parameters of the relationship following a divorce. Outside of these regulations, the involved parties determine the specifics of a premarital agreement.
When Are Premarital Agreements Not Valid?
If you are planning your premarital agreement, it is essential that it be fully valid so that it can be enforced when the time comes. Be aware of what may make the premarital agreement invalid. If any of the restricted things are included in the agreement, then the courts can refuse to enforce it. The courts may also choose not to enforce the agreement if it was signed under false pretenses or without proper consent. The best course of action is to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that your premarital agreement meets all necessary requirements to be valid.
Q: What Is a Premarital Agreement?
A: A premarital agreement is a legally binding written agreement that partners sign prior to the start of their marriage. These agreements are intended to outline how the couple will proceed with the division of assets in the event of a divorce. A premarital agreement may include instructions for money, debt, properties, and more. Couples in California can write their own premarital agreement, but it is best to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that it is done properly.
Q: Are Premarital Agreements Required in California?
A: California does not require premarital agreements prior to a marriage. The two involved parties must voluntarily enter into the written contract prior to the marriage, but the contract does not take effect until they are legally married. If one party is not able to provide full legal consent for the premarital agreement, then it will not be valid and cannot be enforced. Premarital agreements in California are governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) and must follow a clearly defined set of rules.
Q: Why Do I Need a Premarital Agreement?
A: Premarital agreements are not required in California, but they can be beneficial. Regardless of the value of the assets a couple shares, a premarital agreement can protect both spouses in the event of a divorce. If the necessary steps and division of assets are determined before the marriage begins, then the process of completing a divorce may be much easier. Premarital agreements also help to determine spousal support and allow each party to keep their fair portion of any shared assets. An experienced family law attorney can help you create your premarital agreement.
Q: What Should I Include in a Premarital Agreement?
A: There are no specific rules dictating the things that must be included in a premarital agreement. Both parties must work together to determine what assets they wish to divide up and what can be left out. Some common things included in a premarital agreement are real estate, vehicles, valuables, monetary assets, and more. While there are no requirements for what should be included, there are restrictions on premarital agreements. They cannot restrict child support, require illegal actions, or include unfair or unjust terms.
Bickford Blado & Botros: Your Family Law Attorneys
When you are planning a wedding, a premarital agreement is likely the last thing on your mind, but it is an option to consider. No one goes into a marriage planning for it to end in divorce, but it is important to be prepared for any potential outcome. The team at Bickford Blado & Botros can help you plan and write your premarital agreement to ensure that it is completed fairly. Contact us today to get started.
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