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Divorce: What to take into account when considering a prenup

California couples who are planning their weddings may have questions about the need for prenuptial agreements. Some people feel that discussing a marriage agreement is like preparing for a divorce, and although it protects the interests of both spouses in the event of a divorce, it offers a whole lot more. Couples who start their marriages with limited assets may believe a prenup to be unnecessary, and they will have the option to sign post-nuptial agreements after the date of their marriages if their circumstances change later.

A prenuptial agreement can serve a useful purpose if one or both parties own complex trusts or significant family assets. It also offers protection if one spouse is involved in a family business and whose remuneration includes equity along with salary. California is a community property state, and it may be wise to keep that in mind when drafting a prenuptial agreement.

It is not uncommon for shareholders to require a member of the company to include protection of his or her company shares in a prenuptial agreement. This is typically done to prevent a shareholder's ex-spouse from claiming a portion of the business. Many modern couples only enter into marriages after they have already established their careers and accumulated valuable assets. For them, the prenup discussion is not as uncomfortable as for younger couples without significant assets.

Any California couple who decides to sign a prenuptial agreement is advised not to leave it for the last moment. The process involves the services of an experienced divorce attorney -- as the legal representative of one party -- who will draft the agreement and present it to the other party who will then accept it or make changes under the guidance of his or her legal counsel. Prenuptial agreements signed too close to the wedding date could be rejected by a court if it is ever challenged.

Source:, "Do You Need a Prenup?", Sandy Malone, Accessed on Nov. 3, 2017

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