Premarital Agreements in California

July 30, 2011, by

To most couples planning to marry, marriage is a loving commitment between two people who want to share the rest of their lives. Under the law, however, marriage is a contract between two people ... not a contract about love, but a contract about the legal and financial rights and obligations of marriage.

It isn't easy to discuss marriage as if it were a business, but when considering a premarital (or prenuptial) agreement, that is precisely the right approach. A premarital agreement isn't a predetermined exit plan and neither does it reflect a lack of faith in the relationship. It simply protects against unfortunate future circumstances that can, and frequently do, happen and is a most worthwhile effort to address the legal and financial issues of the marital contract.

The following suggestions may help you and your future spouse have a constructive conversation about what kind of premarital agreement would be right for your marriage and your relationship, as well as the role of money in your lives together, and if done right such a conversation can ultimately be more helpful in securing a strong foundation for the marriage than it's actual, intended use.

Discuss the Issue Early
It is very important that you don't wait until four weeks before the wedding to discuss these issues. The earlier these topics are explored, the better.

Ask, Don't Assume
People have all kinds of ideas about premarital agreements, and often they are biased biased or incorrect or based on publicity involving contentious, high-conflict celebrity divorces. You and your spouse may have very different ideas about this issue and it is important not to assume you share the same ideas - ask.

Focus on Practical and Logical Matters, not Emotions
It's difficult to talk about your relationship as if it were a commercial transaction, so it is helpful if you can both agree to be logical rather than emotional in discussing these issues.

Ask A Third Party
It is most always helpful and advisable to consult with a legal professional, and perhaps a financial professional, to explore the benefits and to understand the legal issues. The better informed you both are, the easier it will be to reach a mutual and positive agreement.