There’s no doubt prenuptial agreements have gotten a bad rap. However, despite perhaps your initial stirrings that prenuptial agreements are antithetical to a loving marriage, it might be time to rethink this perspective. Regardless of whether you opt for a prenuptial agreement, when you get married you are entering into a binding legal contract.
Now you have a choice, you can either let the state of California dictate how your contract will look or you can decide for yourself. You can become an engaged participant in the discussion. California simply provides you with a set of default rules. These rules may or may not work for your unique circumstances. When you take the reins and determine for yourself how you want your marriage contract to look, you become privy to the (seemingly) secret knowledge that family law attorneys hold. (This information isn’t actually secret, it’s codified into statues – empower yourself by googling the California Family Law Code). Knowledge as they say is power. With knowledge of California Community Property law, you can decide for yourself which rules you like and discard the ones that you don’t.
Prenuptial agreements are also a great way to begin having discussions regarding your finances if you haven’t already. Do you love to save for experiences while you partner enjoys saving for the finer things in life a la antiques, art, wines and scotch? Have you already purchased or would like to purchase a home? Do you know how much debt your partner has?
When you enter into marriage, your income becomes community property and your spouse’s creditors can and will capture your income if need be. Prenuptial agreements require full and accurate disclosure of all assets and debts. By having frank and open discussions regarding your finances and your financial values before you get married, you can ultimately dodge one of the leading causes of divorces.