Negotiating a prenuptial agreement does not always seem like the most romantic choice but, for many couples, it is the smart one. Prenuptial agreements, also called prenups, premarital agreements, or even antenuptial agreements, allow marrying couples to protect their separate property during a marriage. At Quinn &Dworakowski, we help clients in Irvine, and Orange County, CA, and surrounding areas draft, review, and litigate prenuptial agreements. We also handle issues related to postnuptial agreements, which are sometimes created during a marriage.
If you are planning to marry soon, it’s worth considering the potential benefits a prenuptial contract could provide to both you and your spouse. While some people carry the misconception that a suggestion to sign a prenup indicates a lack of faith that a marriage will last, this is not necessarily true. It’s a reasonable precaution for any couple that owns substantial assets or when both spouses hold significant amounts of debt or separate property.
Prenuptial contracts offer peace of mind, and they often encourage couples to have challenging conversations that they otherwise wouldn’t have until much later after their marriage. Many couples who develop prenuptial contracts report that the process brought them closer together. Covering complex financial issues early in a marriage could prevent many of the issues that commonly lead to divorce.
Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, can provide the legal guidance you and your partner need to develop a comprehensive and legally enforceable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. We can also assist with the review of a standing contract if you and your spouse decide to end your marriage or if you need to revise your prenup after a significant life event.
Prenuptial agreements may also contain postnuptial clauses that specifically apply to future divorce. Essentially, a couple creating their prenuptial contract can potentially create a blueprint for handling a future divorce. It’s possible to tailor a prenuptial agreement in many ways to suit you and your partner’s unique needs and financial concerns.
If you are interested in protecting your interests or have been given a prenuptial agreement to sign by your fiancée or spouse, our Orange County prenup attorneys can offer the legal counsel you need.
For more information on our services and how we can help you, call (949) 660-1400.
Good prenuptial agreements should contain detailed descriptions of the significant property and debts owed by each partner. Depending on the nature and complexity of these assets, a prenuptial agreement can be just a few pages or a few hundred. At Quinn & Dworakowski, we draft each prenup so that it meets the exact needs of our clients.
We’ll go over every section of your prenuptial contract and address any concerns you and your partner may have about the contract. Additionally, we would assist you in revising a contract already in place if you recently had a child, acquired substantial new assets, or faced any unexpected expenses that have significantly impacted your total net worth.
You and your spouse must satisfy various legal requirements to create a legally enforceable prenuptial contract. It’s important to remember that while your prenup can cover many financial aspects of your marriage and provide significant financial protection to both you and your spouse, there are limitations to what can be covered in a prenuptial agreement. First, you and your spouse cannot predetermine child custody or child support through a prenuptial contract. If you have children together and later end your marriage, your prenuptial agreement will have little to no influence on the judge’s custody and support determination. It’s even possible for your child support agreement to nullify some sections of your prenup if the judge deems such actions in the best interest of your children.
Quinn & Dworakowski specializes in a collaborative practice that emphasizes thoroughness, planning for the future, and setting out your prenuptial agreement.
The primary benefit of drafting a prenuptial agreement with a spouse or spouse-to-be is financial security. It’s relatively common for people to marry while carrying debt, and some may have financial obligations from previous marriages, such as child support or alimony to an ex-spouse. California also enforces a strict community property law, meaning that all marital property is subject to 50/50 division in divorce, and separate property is excluded from such divisions. Many people use prenuptial agreements to clearly define individual property ownership rights, so there is little to no room for debate should the couple separate and divide their property in the future.
Your prenuptial contract may potentially shield you from responsibility for your spouse’s debt, and it would serve the same purpose for your spouse. While many married couples intermingle their finances, some prefer to maintain separate finances during marriage. This is common for people who have financial obligations from previous relationships and those who have substantial assets or extraordinarily high incomes. For example, if you continue to pay child support for a child from your previous marriage, you can include a provision in your prenup that ensures your child support will be considered when calculating your income and expenses for a subsequent child support determination or a spousal support order.
Ultimately, prenuptial contracts offer peace of mind when a marriage works and can streamline divorce proceedings when it doesn’t. However, if you are unsure whether a prenuptial contract would benefit your impending marriage, it’s good to consult an Orange County prenuptial agreement lawyer. You can explain your situation and goals for the contract, and your legal team can work with you and your partner to create a prenuptial contract that meets your needs.
Couples with prenuptial agreements may revisit those agreements every few years. As their lives change, their new circumstances may not accurately reflect the existing prenup. The couple may need to amend the contract in various ways:
Like the initial creation of a prenuptial agreement, any revision or amendment to a prenup requires the full informed consent of both spouses, and they must both sign off on the changes without any duress, coercion, or undue influence.
It’s technically possible to create a prenuptial agreement with your spouse without an attorney, but it is not advisable. The average person with no formal legal experience may have some working knowledge of how contracts work, but they are unlikely to be able to create a legally enforceable prenup without the help of an attorney. Your Orange County prenuptial agreement lawyer can assist you with every phase of the contract drafting process.
If you do not have an attorney helping you, you and your spouse may create a prenuptial agreement that is not legally enforceable and does not provide the legal protections you expect. For example, a prenuptial agreement cannot include any unconscionable conditions, but the legal definition of “unconscionable” may not align with the average person’s interpretation of the word. It’s also possible for a prenup created without a lawyer’s help to include illegal terms. If a prenuptial contract is discovered to contain any unconscionable or illegal terms, you cannot simply disregard these sections and consider the remainder of the contract valid.
Your attorney will ensure your prenup covers the issues it can legally cover and does not include any illegal, unconscionable, or unenforceable terms. A prenup’s primary purpose is to address financial matters. Therefore, you cannot include personal terms such as which spouse will handle specific household chores, who is responsible for childcare, where the family will spend vacations, or what type of relationships the family will have with extended relatives. A prenuptial contract is purely for financial security.
When you choose Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, to assist you with developing your prenuptial contract, we will conduct a thorough review of you and your spouse’s respective financial records before meeting with both of you to discuss your goals and expectations for your contract. Then, we’ll walk you through the process of developing the agreement, potentially uncovering variables that neither of you would have considered on your own.
A prenuptial contract can include terms related to spousal support, individual property ownership rights, and how to handle a future divorce. Every couple has unique needs and concerns regarding their prenuptial contracts, and our goal is to provide individualized legal counsel for every client we assist.
If you are planning to marry soon or have recently married in Orange County, it’s worth discussing the potential benefits of a prenuptial contract with your partner. Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, can provide the guidance you need to develop a contract that offers peace of mind and financial protection for the future. If you’re ready to discuss your situation with an Orange County prenuptial agreement lawyer, contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team.
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