California couples may want to consider the benefits of prenuptial agreements. While some people may feel such documents could increase the likelihood of divorce, creating a prenup can actually improve communication and teach compromise. In particular, people who are heading into second marriages, have blended families or own businesses may benefit from a prenup.
Without a prenup, a divorcing entrepreneur may have to give up part of their business to an ex. One could even lose a business in the divorce. If one person comes into the marriage with significant assets, that person may want a prenup for added protection. A prenup can also protect one partner from the other spouse's debts.
It is not uncommon for one spouse to stay at home with the children during marriage. However, these years outside the workforce can significantly affect one's earning power, and the person might even struggle to get another job. While child custody usually ends when the child turns 18, a prenup can help ensure the parent is able to maintain financial security. Specifics in the prenup regarding alimony may also be useful in situations where both people are employed but one earns significantly more than the other.
In California, a prenuptial agreement may be particularly important since most property acquired after marriage is considered marital property. However, a prenup must be prepared correctly. If it appears that one person was pressured into signing it or did not get sufficient legal counsel, the prenup could be challenged and declared invalid. For example, a prenup that is signed just weeks before the wedding could appear to be coerced. Therefore, it is important that couples devote ample time to talking about and planning this agreement.