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Common misconceptions about prenuptial agreements

Many California couples have a number of misconceptions about prenuptial agreements. In some cases, this lack of understanding leads soon-to-be spouses to avoid the topic. However, debunking misconceptions may eliminate some of the negative feelings about prenups.

For example, a prenuptial agreement that includes provisions that a judge is likely to consider unreasonable, ranging from stipulations on child support to one spouse getting all the property after divorce, can result in its dismissal. Furthermore, each partner should have adequate legal counsel from an individual attorney before signing a prenup. A prenuptial agreement that does not meet these standards could look coerced or as though a person was pushed into signing something without fully understanding it.

Some people think prenuptial agreements are only for wealthy people. However, they can be used to protect all types of property, from a home to pets and more. They can also deal with how debt is divided. Furthermore, a prenuptial agreement can lay the groundwork for an estate plan. A prenuptial agreement does not increase the likelihood of divorce nor is it an inflexible document. A postnuptial agreement is also a possibility, but it may not cover assets acquired since the marriage.

It's important to understand that California is a community property state. After divorce, shared assets are supposed to be divided equally, and this includes all property accumulated since the marriage. However, couples who do not have a prenuptial agreement might still be able to negotiate an agreement to their satisfaction. For example, they might not want to split everything 50/50. Instead, each person may agree to take certain assets of equal value.

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