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 email@example.com