Divorce is something that many California couples have to go through at some point in their lives. In fact, according to data collected and published by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), one in five American couples gets divorced within their first five years of marriage. While going through a divorce is never easy, in some cases, it is the right decision for everyone involved.
The possibility of divorce is something for which you may want to prepare before you get married in the first place. There are things that can make the divorce process easier and more efficient, should it come to that. For some couples, signing a premarital agreement that will control much of their divorce is a prudent choice.
A premarital agreement, also known as a premarital agreement, prenuptial agreement, or a prenup, can prepare and protect your support, property and other interests in the event that your marriage ends in divorce. At the Law Offices of Evan Braunstein, our Santa Barbara premarital agreement attorney is trained and experienced in all of the latest aspects of California premarital agreement law. If you are considering signing a premarital agreement, we can help.
In the simplest terms, a premarital agreement is nothing more than a private contract that spouses can enter into before they start their marriage. The point of a premarital agreement is to make the divorce process, in the unfortunate event that there is one, as painless and efficient as possible. More specifically, prenuptial agreements are used to control divorce-related financial matters. Of course, prenups are not considered the most romantic thing in the world; many people have an aversion to them. Yet, many marital professionals do believe that a premarital agreement can be very useful in some cases.
Entering into a premarital agreement offers many advantages, most notably protection and assurance about what will happen if the marriage ends in divorce. If the marriage ends, litigation over financial issues can be avoided if an agreement is in place. Entering into an agreement before marriage can allow some people to marry who otherwise cannot afford the financial risk of marriage. A premarital agreement can also clarify the responsibility of partners with regard to preexisting debts, which may reduce marital stress and improve the quality of a marriage. For couples where at least one spouse has children from a previous relationship, a premarital agreement can also be useful in the very unfortunate event that either partner passes away. If there are children from a previous marriage, their stake in any property or assets that they stand to inherit can be protected.
The most important elements to a Santa Barbara prenuptial agreement are disclosure and independent representation. Disclosure means the full and accurate revelation of all income, assets, debts, and opportunities that exist at present and in the foreseeable future. A party must fully understand what property rights are waived for the waiver of those rights to be effective. Independent representation means that with limited exceptions, each party must consult with a separate attorney to review, discuss, and sign off on the agreement. If a court later finds that a premarital agreement was not accompanied by full disclosure and independent representation, it can refuse to enforce the agreement. In such a case, California divorce law (including community property and spousal support) is applied.
To be enforceable under the law, your Santa Barbara premarital agreement must conform to certain requirements that have been set forth by the state of California. In the mid-1980s California signed on to the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), a multi-state pact that sets certain standards for all premarital agreements. Under this law, California premarital agreements will automatically become effective from the date of the marriage. Additionally, for these agreements to be enforced, they must meet the following five legal requirements included within the UPAA:
If you are considering signing a prenuptial agreement in Santa Barbara, California, you need to ensure the following three things:
You should never sign a premarital agreement unless you have first had the document assessed and reviewed by a qualified attorney. Further, if you have been presented with a copy of a premarital agreement by your partner, you need to hire your own attorney to review the proposed arrangement. Do not sign an agreement that is not fair to you. If you are being asked to make substantial concessions within the agreement, your partner should also be required to make some equitable concessions as well. Do not sign away your legal rights.
At the Law Offices of Evan Braunstein, we provide a wide variety of different family law services including premarital agreement drafting, negotiating and review. To set up a free review of your case, please call us today at (424) 352-8939 or email us through our website. Our office is located in the heart of Santa Barbara, and we represent clients throughout the Los Angeles metro area.