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5 Reasons to sign a prenup in California

Finances can be intensely personal: whether you are wealthy or have struggled financially, you likely have your own ideas about financial planning and resource management.

Though newly engaged partners may feel some reluctance around openly discussing financial issues, nothing could be healthier when preparing to embark on such a meaningful commitment. A prenuptial agreement is a great first step toward developing a relationship based in strong communication and strategies for reaching mutual understanding.

What can a prenup do for me?

A prenuptial agreement involves working with your fiancé to establish a set of rules that will govern your financial situation as individuals and as a couple. In the event of separation, a prenup ensures that each of you is financially protected. In the state of California, the Family Code and Probate Code supplies a set of laws that govern the division of assets. If you do not have a prenup, these laws will govern the financial aspects of your marriage.

There are a number of practical reasons to sign a prenup:

  1. Stay in control. A prenup will allow you to feel in control of your financial life, and this in turn will give you a sense of security in your personal affairs.
  2. Develop critical communication skills. Experts agree that careful cultivation of communication skills early increases the chance of a healthy, successful marriage.
  3. Learn to navigate income differences. No matter your income level or what assets you may have, a prenup can help you feel content about your financial situation, as both an individual and a couple.
  4. Negotiate community and separate property. For California couples without a prenup, community property laws require an equal division of community property upon divorce; community property includes any items acquired over the course of the marriage (gifts and inheritances excluded). A prenup allows you to create an alternate set of rules governing separate property (that which belongs exclusively to one spouse) and community property.
  5. Protect yourself and your fiancé. Though you may be committed to your partner now, life is full of changes and many things can happen over the course of a marriage. Creating a prenup will protect future interests for both you and your partner.

Though prenups in California do not cover child custody or child support, negotiating a prenup before marriage can help you develop vital skills which may prove useful should you ever need to address child custody-related issues down the road. If you are still unsure of whether a prenuptial agreement is the right path, you and your partner should each consult your own family law attorneys; they will help you evaluate the potential benefits of a prenup.

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