A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that is drafted and signed before a couple gets married that lays the groundwork for the distribution of assets should the marriage fail. Just figuring out how to even initially approach the subject of a California prenuptial agreement with your partner can be stressful.
Discussing this topic with your future spouse has the potential to turn into a dumpster fire for the relationship because asking them to sign this agreement could be seen thinking the marriage will fail.
It's not always an easy conversation, but there are ways you can discuss a prenuptial agreement in a caring manner that could bring you closer together with your future spouse.
How exactly you have the conversation might prevent major arguments later during the marriage.
While a prenuptial agreement is not required, many California divorce lawyers will recommend one because they are binding agreement that each spouse must follow in case of divorce. A California prenuptial agreement could be considered a way to:
- clarify expectations to avoid disagreements;
- serve as a contingency plan;
- protect both spouses in the future.
There are ways to making a prenup conversation easier. Our Los Angeles divorce and family law attorneys will provide a review below.
Don't Wait Too Long Before Letting Your Partner Know You Want a Prenup
You should not wait until the last minute to tell your fiancé that you want to get a premarital agreement.
Clearly, just presenting an already prepared prenup contract right before the wedding is not the right way to begin a marriage.
Using some common sense here can prevent hard feelings and arguments. Don't expect your partner to read and sign a prenup shortly before the wedding and without warning.
It's important that both spouses are involved in crucial process of drafting the California prenuptial agreement. In order to avoid potentially significant disagreements after you become engaged, you should:
- discuss your desire for a prenuptial agreement as soon as possible;
- working closely together to make a draft of the prenuptial agreement.
By preparing a draft of the prenup, it gives both partners a chance to tell each other how they can feel comfortable throughout the marriage. The prenuptial agreement can remove any stress over who gets what property in case of a divorce.
Start the Discussion Over Finances in a Marriage
In order to get the conversation started with your future spouse about a premarital agreement, it would be wise to ask them to the discuss long-term finances.
Prenuptial agreements should be a part of mutual financial planning. In this manner, you can talk in a private quite setting and review:
- all the assets and debts, and
- desired spending habits.
Here is the best chance to openly discuss any concerns you may have over how a spouse plans to spend money in the marriage, as well as long-term goals.
After both spouses get a big-picture look at the other's financial situation, now it's time to review any concerns. For example, perhaps one partner has a large amount of debt they are brining into the marriage.
This is a great opportunity to discuss that a prenuptial agreement would protect both partners. Many people will even get a financial advisor involved in order advise on why a prenup is needed.
Make Sure Both Partners Are Comfortable with Prenup Terms
A California prenuptial agreement is only valid if both spouses have a clear understanding of the legal document they are signing.
In fact, it would be wise for both partners to hire separate family law attorneys, so there won't be any issues over the fairness or legality of the prenup.
When discussing the actual terms of the prenuptial agreement, it's important for either spouse to raise any concerns they may have. Here are some tips on making the conversation productive:
- explain the purpose of the prenuptial agreement;
- decide the actual terms together;
- clearly explain what you want in the agreement;
- leave room for negotiation.
Once these two major issues have been removed from the conversation, then both spouses will typically feel more comfortable taking about the main issue of protecting their separate property.
Working with a mediator to draft your premarital agreement
By working with a mediator to make a draft contract, it gives both partners an opportunity to express what they believe is their best interest.
Before the actual meeting with a mediator, both spouses should decide what specific key issues they want to discuss in an prenup draft.
Getting these key issues decided beforehand will typically make the meeting with the mediator much more productive.
Mediators are great at providing unbiased advice because they are a neutral party without any conflict of interest.
How Should I Respond If My Spouse Requests a Prenuptial Agreement?
If your future spouse unexpectedly asks for a California prenuptial agreement, don't overreact or panic and say something stupid you will regret later.
You need to remember that a prenup has become very common, especially in the state of California. Don't make the mistake of believing that your future spouse thinks the marriage will fail even before it gets off the ground.
If the subject of a prenuptial agreement is brought to your attention, then you should consider it an opportunity to:
- carefully listen and find out the reasons why your future spouse is asking for a prenuptial agreement to protect their assets;
- fully discuss any financial issues you probably already thought of, but didn't want to start an argument.
Remember, a California prenup is a golden opportunity to discuss how the finances will be handled during your marriage.
You should also remember that premarital agreements go both ways by equally protecting both spouses before the wedding.
Los Angeles Family Law Lawyers For a Prenuptial Agreement
The process of drafting a California prenuptial agreement might feel overwhelming, but there several advantages in the end.
They actually open up an honest conversation about expectations and will often reduce conflict, which are crucial factors in a successful marriage.
If your spouse gives you a draft of a prenuptial agreement, you should retain a family law attorney to review it.
You should make sure your spouse has fully disclosed all their debts and assets because you will be required to disclose your own.
We can help you understand what is included in a standard California premarital contract.
Furman & Zavatsky are Los Angeles divorce and family law attorneys that provide legal representation to residents throughout Southern California, including LA County, Orange County, Ventura County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, and Tarzana.
Our law firm is located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 15821 Ventura Blvd #690 Encino, CA 91436.
Contact us for a free case consultation at (818) 528-3471.