Prenuptial agreements, despite their unromantic reputation, are extremely helpful legal tools utilized by an increasing percentage of couples looking to get married. Marriages, in addition to being relational unions, are contractual agreements between two individuals. It is prudent when entering into a legally binding agreement of any kind to make appropriate provisions when establishing any terms and conditions.
For Napa, CA couples, speaking with a qualified family law attorney will provide the most helpful information on whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you, as well as what you should and should not include in one.
Focusing exclusively on family law practice, the team at Hayes Family Law fully understands the considerations that go into creating prenuptial agreements. Marriages are pleasant and happy occasions, and rather than focusing on a presumption of failure, drafting a prenuptial agreement lays the proper groundwork for good communication. By understanding what makes marriages work and knowing the pitfalls that often lead to divorce, our attorneys are ideally suited to set you and your partner up for success.
Prenuptial agreements, also known as prenups, are legal documents establishing a contract between two individuals who intend to marry. These agreements outline the rights and responsibilities of each spouse in the event of a divorce. Prenups primarily contain provisions for financial matters, such as ownership of assets and debt liability.
Many individuals who are getting married own property, own businesses, or have incurred significant debt. By establishing a prenuptial agreement, individuals can legally shield their partners from inheriting a share of their debt liability in the event of a divorce. Additionally, many property division considerations can be made in advance, saving time, stress, and legal fees later should a divorce occur.
While prenups are quite open-ended, allowing individuals to draft any number of provisions they choose, there are certain ones prohibited by California law. They include any provisions for:
- Child custody or support
- Divorce proceedings
- Non-financial matters of personal preference, such as behavior
- Illegal activities
Any attempt to require such provisions would invalidate the entire agreement. Prenups must adhere to all legal standards to be enforceable. Generally, as long as the agreement seeks to protect individual financial interests and doesn’t attempt to avoid the courts in the event of a divorce, it will likely remain valid. For questions specific to your situation, consult your Napa family law attorney.
To file a prenup in Napa, CA, take the following steps:
- Partner with an experienced attorney.
- Disclose all known property, debt, income, and other financial interests and responsibilities.
- Draft a prenuptial agreement that is clear, exhaustive, and fair.
- Provide a copy of the agreement to your partner.
- Have a qualified legal representative review all terms and conditions with you.
- At least seven days after providing the agreement to your partner, make sure all parties sign the document with a public notary.
- Keep signed and dated copies for your records.
Retaining a qualified and skilled prenuptial agreement lawyer is the most effective way to ensure your prenup follows all necessary requirements to be legally binding. Despite the straightforward steps necessary in creating one, the legal regulations outlining valid prenups can quickly become complex, especially when more property and assets are considered. It is, therefore, highly recommended that you work with your Napa family law attorney to outline and draft a sound prenuptial agreement.
Q: Can You Write Your Own Prenup in California?
A: Individuals in California can write their own prenups, provided they meet all appropriate requirements and procedures and are notarized at the time of signing. While California’s Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) affords the legal right to draft one’s own prenuptial agreements, it does not necessarily validate or protect any document created for that purpose. Prenups can easily be invalidated by the court later on. For this reason, it is always advisable to partner with an experienced prenuptial agreement attorney.
Q: Do I Need a Lawyer for a Prenup in CA?
A: California law does not require individuals to hire a lawyer to draft a prenup. The court does, however, require that any prenup created be completely compliant with all applicable rules and regulations. If a prenuptial agreement attempts to include spousal support provisions, then the court does require that both you and your partner have the agreement reviewed by an attorney for it to be legally valid. Ultimately, it is to your greatest advantage to work with a skilled attorney.
Q: Who Should Create a Prenup Before Marriage?
A: Despite common misconceptions, prenups are not intended merely for couples with substantial wealth. In fact, over the last decade, there has been a substantial increase in the percentage of new marriages with prenups. Couples with high income, substantial debt, children from prior relationships, businesses, pets, or those who plan on being stay-at-home parents would all benefit from establishing a prenup before marriage. If you are unsure if a prenup is appropriate for you, consult with an experienced attorney.
Q: What Makes a Prenup Valid in California?
A: In order for a prenup to be valid in California, it must be in writing and must be signed by both parties in the presence of a public notary. After drafting a prenuptial agreement, the written document must be presented to your partner at least seven days before signing it to provide them with the opportunity to review the terms and conditions and consult their own lawyer. Only after these conditions are met will the agreement be legally binding.
For experienced and knowledgeable representation in creating and establishing a mutually beneficial prenuptial agreement, speak with a member of our team at Hayes Family Law. We will offer guidance and counsel in answering all your questions and can make recommendations appropriate to your particular circumstances. To ensure your marriage gets off to a strong start, contact our office and consider establishing your prenuptial agreement today.