Getting Married:
Should You Consider a Premarital Agreement

What is a premarital agreement?

A premarital agreement is a contract between two people who plan to get married. This contract can determine both individual’s rights regarding their money and property when the marriage ends in either death or divorce. While many people believe that premarital agreements are generally used to protect the assets of wealthy spouses, there are many other important functions that a premarital agreement can serve. A premarital agreement can address almost anything you want. However, in California, you cannot limit child support, child custody, or visitation.

A premarital agreement can be especially useful for couples who are considering entering into a marriage where one or both of them have children from previous relationships. An older couple may want to protect certain items such as heirlooms, property, or money for their children, or ensure that assets are retained for one or the other to go into a nursing home. An individual who was previously married may already be well aware of the importance of having an agreement regarding their assets before marriage.

Premarital agreements tend to have a bad connotation. Many people also seem to believe that a premarital agreement is easy to break, or have the court throw out the agreement. Premarital agreements are becoming more and more accepted and commonplace in today’s society. A premarital agreement reassures the expectations of the parties before marriage and as long as the parties enter into the agreement properly, a court will uphold it.

Do I need a premarital agreement before I get married?

Every couple is different. However, without entering into a premarital agreement, every couple agrees to have their property rights determined by State law. In the eventuality of divorce, State law provides how the assets of the couple will be divided and decide whether one of the spouses is unable to support themselves and may require support from the other spouse after divorce. Even young couples can benefit from at least considering a premarital agreement. Discussing issues that are generally covered in a premarital agreement is a good step to finding out whether your ideas about how to manage money and property are similar or if they are drastically different. This type of discussion allows couples to come to a better understanding of each other’s expectations for the future and put that understanding in writing if necessary.

I think I want a premarital agreement, what should I do next?

Initially, you should discuss the idea with your fiancé and put some thought into what you want to accomplish by entering into a premarital agreement. Once you have decided what you want to accomplish, the first step is to gather all of your financial information, including all of your assets and liabilities. By entering into a premarital agreement, you will be required to disclose all of your assets and liabilities to your fiancé.

You will then want to consult with an attorney to make sure your objectives for the premarital agreement are covered, and that you understand your rights under the premarital agreement as well as under State law. Your fiancé should consult a separate lawyer, and your lawyers can work together to create an agreement that covers the concerns of both parties and provides a mutual understanding and agreement on how your assets and the assets of your fiancé will be handled in the future.

The legal information in this blog is not intended as legal advice but only general information and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with an attorney. [Disclaimer] Our family law team at Naimish & Lewis can advise you on premarital and post-martial agreements. To schedule an initial consultation with an attorney at our firm, please contact us.