Marriage is not just a piece of paper, despite what current debates over same-sex marriage says; it is a joining of two lives into one.

You may not envision yourself ever needing the protection of a premarital agreement, also sometimes called a prenuptial agreement or “prenup”, at the time of your marriage. Many people won’t need that extra protection but a growing percentage of marriages will.

If you have significant or unique assets you would want to protect in the case of divorce, you could benefit from a premarital agreement. If you and your future spouse do not have significant assets, a premarital agreement can seem unnecessary and can often hurt feelings.

However, if you have significant family assets that you expect you and your spouse will benefit from during your marriage or that you stand to inherit at some point, a premarital agreement can look out for your family’s best interest as well as yours. People obtain premarital agreements for a variety of reasons but the main goal is to protect your or your family’s assets and to avoid future conflict over property and assets during a divorce.

A premarital agreement will protect your assets and help avoid conflict and while it may seem insincere before you get married, can really help you out down the road. A premarital agreement can include guidelines for several issues such as assets, life insurance, wills and estates, property agreements and other liabilities or obligations that may arise from a couple divorcing.

A premarital agreement cannot do a few things; it cannot adversely affect the right a child has to financial support from both its parents. In other words, it cannot result in less child support owed. Also, if the right to spousal support has been waived in the premarital agreement, it may or may not be enforceable upon divorce.

If the spouse who waived the right was not represented when they signed it, the waiver may not be validated in court. Also, if one spouse signed a premarital agreement without being fully informed and aware of the ramifications, it may not be enforceable upon divorce.

Due to these exceptions and stipulations about the validity of premarital agreements, it goes without saying that it is a complicated area of family law that requires experienced and expert counsel. A family law attorney with experience in handling high asset divorces will be able to call on the right resources to draft a premarital agreement that looks out for your financial interests and can protect your assets in the future. Upon marriage, the agreement is enforced and can only be amended under the consent of both spouses. 

Are you in the Los Angeles or Beverley Hills area and have questions about premarital agreements? If you are thinking about getting a premarital agreement, Certified Family Law Specialist Mark H. Karney can provide extensive experience handling complex divorce cases to ensure you end up with an agreement that looks out for your best interests now and in the future. Serving Los Angeles County, attorney Mark H. Karney can provide expert counsel for all your family law needs. Call our office at 310-564-5710; email us at or contact us through our online form today to schedule a free consultation.