LAW OFFICES OF WARREN R. SHIELL
Certified Family Law Specialist
Our Los Angeles Prenuptial and Premarital Agreement Lawyers can help you protect your assets and income when you get married. Call 310-247-9913.
Why you should consider a Prenuptial or Premarital Agreement
A prenuptial (also called a premarital) agreement or prenup allows a couple getting married to make financial arrangements about how their income and assets should be treated in a divorce. California is a community property state and assets acquired during the marriage must be divided equally in a divorce. California also imposes significant spousal support (alimony) obligations on the wealthier spouse. A well drafted prenuptial agreement allows couples to place restrictions on the amount and duration of spousal support.
In Los Angeles, over fifty per cent of marriages end in divorce. Second marriages have an even higher divorce rate. Couples who have been married before are more likely to enter into prenuptial agreements because they understand the financial consequences of divorce. Prenuptial agreements should be viewed as an exercise in financial planning and money management. It is better to get used to talking about money sooner rather than later. Most religions recognize that marriage is an economic as well as a religious and romantic union. The Catholic church’s marital preparation process called “Pre-Cana” includes couples talking about money. Prenuptial agreements of some kind have been around as long as the institution of marriage. The earliest example of a prenuptial agreement is a Jewish “Ketubah” which dates back thousands of years.
Our firm has prepared and reviewed prenuptial agreements for all types of couples including young and older couples, people with businesses, couples just starting out and couples who have been married before and have considerable net worth.
Why you need an experienced family lawyer to prepare your Prenuptial Agreement
Prenuptial agreements in California are governed by the California Family Code. The Code and the case law lay down specific rules that must be followed to ensure that a prenuptial agreement is enforceable. Just like any contract, a prenuptial agreement only works if the court accepts it as valid. There is no point in drafting a do-it-yourself prenuptial agreement or having it drafted by an inexperienced attorney. Even many family lawyers do not feel comfortable drafting a prenuptial agreement. We have the experience and skills to craft a solid prenuptial agreement that will meet your financial needs in the case of divorce.
Reasons why you may want to enter a Prenup
Both people may be professionals with independent wealth, and you may want to keep income and assets separate.
You may want to protect your estate for your children and grandchildren.
There may be a disparity in income and assets and the wealthier partner may wish to keep their wealth separate.
You may wish to place limits on the amount and duration of spousal support.
You may want to protect your interest in a closely-held business or professional practice.
You may want to make sure that the community never acquires an interest in your business or real property
You may want to protect yourself from the other’s debts
The types of assets a prenup can protect
Real property such as your house
Pensions and 401K’s
Professional practices and closely held businesses
Investments and bank accounts
Intellectual property such as patents, copyrights, trademarks
An example of how a prenup protects your assets
Community property law is very complicated. In California, the community may acquire interests in property that you may have expected would be protected your separate property. The following is an example of one of the many ways the community may acquire an interest in property. One spouse owns real property titled in their name that they purchased with a home loan prior to marriage. Without a prenup, if either spouse uses their earnings during the marriage to pay down the principal on the, the community acquires an interest in that property even though title is one spouse’s name. This is because earnings of either spouse are community property. The community acquires what is called a “Moore-Marsden” interest. If the couple refinance the mortgage during the marriage, the community interest may increase exponentially. This is called the “Branco bump.” In this example, a spouse who thought they owned the property outright because title was in their name and they paid the mortgage from their earnings, may be surprised when a judge tells them that the community owns 80% of the equity. A well-crafted prenup could have provided that the community never acquired an interest in the house in this situation.
The situation is even more complicated in the case of closely-held businesses and partnerships.
We handle international prenuptial agreements for couples who reside in California or who have substantial assets in California
We are highly experienced in advising wealthy and entrepreneurial clients and their families concerning such matters, as well as international couples who require protection considering their international residences or business interests. A key benefit for international people is that a prenuptial agreement may drastically simplify a future divorce that might otherwise be inordinately complex or confusing. We often work with counsel in other countries to ensure that any prenup has the best chance of being enforced.
Call for an Initial Legal Consultation at (310) 247-9913
If you would like to learn more about prenuptial agreements and how we can help protect your interests, please
call 310-247-9913 for an initial consultation or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Acclaimed lawyers representing business owners, property developers, investors, doctors, surgeons, celebrities, professional athletes and other high net-worth individuals and their spouses. We are experts in protecting your privacy, keeping your information confidential and ensuring your divorce is finalized efficiently and with sensitivity.
Enforceability of Prenups
We act as mediators or as consulting attorneys to help people resolve their family law issues through mediation. The great advantage of mediation is that people reach desirable settlements with lessened conflict, stress and legal fees. Particularly where children are involved, a mediated settlement often provides a better foundation for a future working relationship with your ex-partner.
California Premarital Act
Our job is to help you navigate this emotional and difficult process. We focus on child-centered amicable mediated settlements designed to provide a foundation for your future co-parenting relationship. In those cases where a parenting plan cannot be resolved through negotiation, we zealously litigate to defend you and your children’s best interests.
Warren R. Shiell, Certified Family Law Specialist
Warren R. Shiell is a Certified Family Law Specialist - a distinction earned by less than 1 in 200 family attorneys and has been endorsed by other family lawyers and family court judges. Applying nearly 30 years of legal experience, Mr. Shiell focuses on resolving his clients’ family law issues with a minimum amount of conflict and litigation through the use of negotiation, mediation and settlement conferences.
Graduating from Oxford University with an M.A. in Law in 1985, Mr. Shiell practiced commercial litigation in the City of London before moving to New York. In New York, Mr. Shiell handled numerous civil and family law trials and won several appeals at the New York Appellate Division. Mr. Shiell’s practice is focused exclusively on family law. He has lectured and published articles on behalf of various local Bar Associations, newspapers and magazines and has volunteered his time for a number of not-for-profit legal organizations. He has been
named a "Super Lawyer" by Los Angeles Magazine and has served as a member of the Family Law Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
Family Law Attorney, Certified Family Law Specialist
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
"Mr Shiell recently represented me for
almost one year in a prolonged, complicated, legal action to reduce and or eliminate my alimony obligation. Warren is extremely knowledgeable, fair,
responsive, wise, and very experienced with a chaotic legal system. He knew which additional experts were critical to the successful resolution of my case.
Although Warren gives the appearance of being very calm and "laid back" he is a tough negotiator and always represented my best interests against a team of lawyers who were aggressive and
extremely confrontational. I value Warren's advice and in retrospect, he was 100% accurate in all the information he conveyed to me in a timely fashion. Warren's billing was honest and fair.
Thankfully, my alimony "battle" is now behind me with a successful resolution thanks to the expertise of Mr Shiell. Based on my personal experience, I highly recommend Warren Shiell!"
"Warren is conscientious, reliable, intelligent, and professional. He did great work for me and I'd happily work with him again in the future. He explained everything to me clearly in terms I could
understand, and followed through with excellent results. His knowledge and experience in family law is unrivaled - some of his work has become case law! In fact, the lawyer on the other side of the table clearly respected Warren very highly, which helped resolve things very quickly and effectively."
"Warren represented me as I went through a very difficult divorce. I have an 8 month old daughter and was emotionally drained from the events leading up to the dissolution of my marriage and discouraged by the thought of being a single mom. Warren made my life so much easier and kept me calm, collected and focused in court. He is honest, helpful, organized and thorough. When judgement came back in my favor, I had only Warren to thank. Even after my case was settled, he
continued to be helpful by answering any questions I had going forward. I would recommend Warren to anyone needing an attorney and I now see why a judge in the Los Angeles area referred me to him. That referral is one that I am the most grateful for. Thank you Warren! My daughter and
I appreciate you! "