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Can a prenuptial agreement protect me in divorce?

Although you expect to experience a happily ever after with your spouse, sometimes the best-laid plans go awry, and divorce is inevitable. This is why having a prenuptial agreement in place is a growing trend and a wise move for people in California who are getting married at any age.

A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract that essentially establishes what two people expect to happen in the event of a divorce. With this type of agreement, two people who are preparing to get married can ensure they are on the same page regarding the division of property, debts and assets in the event they do divorce.

What are the benefits of having a prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial agreements are often created for wealthy people, but people at all income and wealth levels can find them personally beneficial. The chief benefit of a prenup is that it can protect your assets as well as protect you from having to assume a soon-to-be-ex's debts following divorce.

With a prenup, you can also determine where your property will go after you die, as well as clarify both you and your spouse's financial responsibilities and rights during your marriage. With a prenup, you can ultimately avoid costly and lengthy disputes if you end up getting divorced.

What are the requirements for developing a prenuptial agreement?

First and foremost, a prenuptial agreement has to be in writing in order for the agreement to be deemed valid. The provisions in this type of marital agreement must also be reasonable, and the agreement legally cannot address the complex issue of child custody.

Both parties also have to disclose any income, assets and liabilities. Each party must have his or her own attorney during the prenup development process as well. Finally, there must be enough time for both parties to draft, read and sign the prenuptial agreement without feeling pressure.

Courts today analyze prenuptial agreements carefully, so it is critical that it is prepared correctly. If it is not clear, justifiable, fair and understandable, and if it fails to meet California's state requirements, a judge will simply set the agreement aside. A knowledgeable attorney can lead you through the process of creating a thorough, well-thought-out prenuptial agreement that meets your needs and takes into consideration your best interests in the event your "I Do" becomes an "I Don't."

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