Under California law, absent a prenuptial agreement, upon marriage, all items become community property, including assets and debts. While certain exceptions apply to separate property items, such as inheritances, these areas can become further muddied by how such property is handled during the marriage. In order to avoid these issues and/or any other surprises, such as unknown debts, or future lawsuits, a separate property agreement, commonly known as a premarital agreement, protects the rights of both parties on a long-term basis.
Premarital agreements can be made as to a variety of issues and can cover a variety of contingencies, from business interests, spousal support, separate property, real property to division of debt. The key component for all these issues is that they must be disclosed in the agreement, and the other party must have the opportunity to obtain counsel. All these issues can take time to negotiate and sign, so if one is considering a premarital agreement, it is best to start the process sooner rather than later.
If you own a business and are planning on getting married, it is important to have an agreement in place if there is ever a divorce. Absent an agreement, claims can be made that a portion or all the business is community property, depending on what has occurred during the marital community. If you are planning on getting married, contact Sunnen Law, and let us help you learn how to draft a premarital agreement that will protect you and your future spouse's security.
Whereas a prenuptial agreement sets forth obligations and debts and characterization of property for the parties before marriage, a postnuptial agreement attempts to do the same during the marriage. Due to the different circumstances at play in parties already being married, such agreements receive different treatment should they come before a court. Having said that, in some cases, such an agreement is necessary based on the specific facts and circumstances of a case.
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At Sunnen Law, we draft both prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements. Let us protect your future! Call us at 619-255-9551 or email us to request an in-person consultation as soon as possible.