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If you are considering marriage, you need to take stock of your current family and financial situation and your plans. Once you have established where you are and where you intend to go on your own and when married, you need to meet with an established Los Angeles prenuptial agreement attorney.
Prenuptial agreements (also called antenuptial, premarital agreements, or prenups, for short) are contracts between future spouses who are thinking about getting married. In America, they gained popularity in the eighties, but reportedly, even ancient Romans used them.
Today, prenuptial agreements are more important than ever before. As partners enter into marriage later in life, they do so with established assets and families. There is much more at stake in the event of a divorce, including children’s inheritance and retirement accounts.
Prenuptial Agreements Take Skillful Preparation
As with any vital family law issue, you will want an experienced Los Angeles Los Angeles prenuptial agreement lawyer to prepare your prenuptial agreement. At Fernandez & Karney, our prenuptial agreement attorneys will ensure you have a document that will stand up to the court’s scrutiny and the test of time.
Fernandez & Karney’s prenuptial agreement attorneys are:
- Knowledgeable and experienced in all areas of family law
- Dedicated to addressing every client issue and asset so neither party feels coerced during the prenuptial process
- Successful in negotiating prenuptial agreements between future spouses in high-asset and complex family situations
Let the Los Angeles prenuptial agreement attorneys at Fernandez & Karney properly construct a prenuptial agreement for you. Schedule a confidential consultation to learn more about how a prenuptial agreement can prevent future problems and litigation, as well as simplify a divorce should one ever be needed.
How a Los Angeles Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Can Help
If you are on the fence about a prenuptial agreement or are unsure why you might need a prenuptial agreement, it is best to meet with an attorney to discuss your situation. California’s family laws could have unintended consequences on your finances or children in the event of death or divorce.
Reasons to discuss a prenuptial agreement with Fernandez & Karney include but are not limited to:
- You and your future spouse are on unequal financial footing
- Your future spouse is carrying a lot of debt
- You have children from a previous relationship
- You are a business owner
- You want to keep your finances and marital details private using a confidentiality clause
- You had a short engagement
- You or your spouse were previously divorced
- You or your spouse is giving up a career to stay at home with children or to follow the other spouse to a new geographic location
- You and your spouse have different investment and retirement goals.
Do not wait to make your life plans and finances known to your future spouse. Prevent problems before you marry. Meet with a prenuptial agreement attorney at Fernandez & Karney to get started on protecting your security as well as that of your family and your upcoming union.
Why Choose a Prenup?
California has a body of statutes that apply to premarital agreements. It is called The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA). This set of laws has governed California prenuptial agreements since 1986.
These laws regulate the mutual rights and obligations of spouses and domestic partners. However, some of these rights can be altered by agreement.
If spouses choose to handle their property division during the marriage, divorce, or the death of a spouse differently than the default method provided by state law, a prenuptial agreement is one option to achieve this goal.
When Does a Prenuptial Agreement Take Effect?
Prenuptial agreements only become effective upon marriage. Should marriage be annulled, a prenup might be void or only provisionally enforceable. In domestic partnerships, the date of registration is equivalent to the marriage date.
What Makes a Premarital Agreement Valid?
To be valid, the premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. A prenup can be modified or revoked after marriage, but again, only in writing, with signatures by both spouses.
Due to the special, intimate relationship between husbands and wives, premarital agreements give rise to the presumption of undue influence. This presumption can benefit a spouse seeking to invalidate a prenuptial agreement in court.
California Family Code establishes that the confidential, fiduciary relationship between spouses “imposes a duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing on each spouse.” The courts can penalize a breach of fiduciary duty by awarding the full value of an undisclosed asset upon divorce to the misled spouse.
A fiduciary relationship does not yet exist between partners contemplating marriage. Thus, a presumption of undue influence does not apply to prenuptial agreements.
Scope of Premarital Agreements
Prenups can address matters such as the interests of future spouses in separate or community property. Such interests include the right to buy, sell, lease, or mortgage real estate. Even the making of the will or a trust or allocation of a death benefit from a life insurance policy can be validly limited by a prenuptial agreement.
Frequently prenups are invoked in the context of separation or divorce. A spouse, who would otherwise be entitled to request alimony following a divorce, can waive the right to future spousal support in a premarital agreement.
There are significant restrictions on California prenups. For instance, California statute expressly states that “[t]he right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.”
Also, the court will only enforce provisions limiting spousal support if the spouse whose rights are affected had independent legal representation at the time of signing. Should the court find the waiver of spousal support unconscionable, they will not allow it.
Any agreement between future spouses or future domestic partners may not violate criminal laws or public policy.
Future spouses cannot waive the financial and property disclosures beyond what is already allowed by law, nor can they alter the duties of marriage.
The courts also discourage any provisions in a prenuptial agreement that promote divorce.
Enforceability of Prenuptial Agreements
In general, courts look upon premarital agreements favorably. But, there are situations when a prenup will not be enforced.
Any prenuptial agreement signed using coercion is invalid. For the court to deem a signature voluntary, the party presented with the prenup must either seek advice from independent legal counsel or must waive the right to seek legal advice in writing.
Under California law, a future spouse must have at least seven days to consult a Los Angeles prenuptial lawyer before signing an agreement. The spouses must provide each other with “fair, reasonable, and full” disclosure of their respective obligations and property unless they waive the right to such information in writing.
If a wife has no legal representation at signing, she must also be given an appropriate explanation as to the contents of the prenup.
Prenuptial Agreements: Pros and Cons
A prenuptial agreement might produce some unexpected effects. Some believe that the requirement to thoroughly discuss finances before a marriage forces honesty about the initially undisclosed matter and could lead to a divorce.
While a prenuptial agreement cannot effectively limit all financial liabilities, discussing debts can prevent future headaches and eliminate surprises.
Speak with a Los Angeles Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Today
At Fernandez & Karney, we have over 100 years of combined experience helping couples seeking a prenuptial agreement. We are Certified Family Law Specialists, which means you will have highly experienced prenup attorneys working on your family law matter. Call today for a free consultation.