When people in California plan on getting married, they may not want to think about prenuptial agreements. In general, prenups have a bad reputation; people think of greedy celebrity divorces or other legal dramas. In other cases, people feel that it's bad luck to plan for divorce before the wedding even takes place. However, there's a lot more to prenuptial agreements than their image in pop culture, and they can be an excellent and important choice for many couples.
First, it's important to know that prenups aren't just a way for a wealthier partner to protect his or her assets. In order for a prenup to be upheld by a court, both parties should be represented by their own independent attorneys during the negotiations. Both parties should also receive benefits from the agreement. In addition, people can't include just anything in a prenup. Conditions that are unconscionable or contrary to the public interest can be dismissed by a judge. For example, two parents can't agree to dismiss child support in a prenuptial agreement because that support belongs instead to the child.
Next, it's also good to know that prenups don't indicate a higher likelihood of divorce. In one poll of mental health experts, 86 percent said that prenuptial agreements had no apparent effect on marital success. In addition, prenups aren't only relevant in case of a divorce. They can also be part of laying the framework for an estate plan. For example, the passing of property to children can be very important for blended families coming together later in life.
People who are considering marriage may have another task to add to the wedding-planning checklist -- drawing up a prenuptial agreement. A family law attorney can answer questions about how prenups work and draw up an agreement that reflects a couple's needs.