Lancaster prenuptial agreement lawyers

Posted By Aaron Denton, On August 25, 2020
Here Are Reasons Why a Prenuptial Agreement Is Important
The agreement is prepared and signed before marriage. It spells out what should happen to the partners’ assets and income in situations like divorce, separation, or death. Although no one wants to think about getting divorced before they get married, the documents are used to set the terms if a marriage ends.However, there are legal limitations on what should be included in a prenuptial agreement. If you fail to adhere to all legal requirements in California when drafting the agreement, you may end up having an unenforceable document. Examples of such situations include a verbal contract, if one of the parties is forced to sign, and unfair terms.

Another important fact you need to know about the process is that the agreement is only enforceable after getting married. A couple is required to provide proof that they have finalized their marriage. The law allows you to change the terms of your premarital agreement after your wedding.

For this to happen, both parties must consent and follow the required steps to modify the original contract. If you intend to change the terms, you need to hire a professional legal practitioner to ensure you abide by the law. A divorce in California can leave one of the partners in a difficult financial situation without a prenuptial agreement. The following are some of the reasons why you should get a contract:

Avoid the Dilution of Control of Your Wealth

The primary objective here is to ensure the effective division of inherited funds. According to some experts, this can be done by creating trust agreements. No trust can be relied upon when it comes to safeguarding your inheritance. In the event of death, the patterns of previous distributions will be presumed to continue when determining spousal support.

Inherited interest in a family enterprise doesn’t always retain its separate property character if beneficiaries are involved in the management of the business but don’t receive fair remuneration for their contributions. A premarital contract is an ideal solution for such situations.
It Helps to Maintain the Control of Specific Separate Assets

Separate assets that may come after marriage can in different forms, including investment property, portfolios, or a residential building. Unspoken assumptions can cause a lot of confusion when it comes to controlling separate property. When you have a premarital agreement, such ambiguities will not exist.

The contracts will also help to avoid expensive lawsuits. For example, if a partner offers their professional skills to manage a business owned by the other partner, they may expect to become co-owners after getting married. The owner may view their other half as having have given some help without expecting to become part of the company. An agreement will help to prevent miscommunications and enable you to solve such issues.

Safeguard Your Assets in the Event of Remarriage

If you choose to get remarried after a divorce, you will experience new challenges when figuring out the best ways of protecting your family and property. When you remarry, you will experience the challenges of combining different lives and also means the possibility of things such as having kids from other relationships and child support.

A contract in such cases should address concerns about your obligations from your previous marriage. It should also cover the distribution of assets if one of the partners dies. This helps to ensure that children get their inheritance.

Getting Ready for the Possibility of Divorce

No one would want to think about the possibility of divorce when getting married. However, you cannot ignore the fact that a significant percentage of marriages end in divorce. By having a difficult conversation with your beloved before you finalize the marriage, you encourage open and honest discussions and prepare yourself for a difficult conversation later on.

When you acknowledge that your marriage could end in divorce, that’s being emotionally realistic. A premarital agreement offers you an opportunity to open up about your financial status and needs before the wedding.

Protecting Family-Owned businesses

If a spouse has an ownership stake or works in a family-owned enterprise, and receives some income from it, this may raise issues after a divorce when trying to divide assets. If there is no prenuptial agreement, a former spouse may claim and end up having some ownership stake and receive monetary benefits from the business.

Some companies that operate in the same way require new family members to have a premarital contract. This helps to protect the interests of family-owned businesses in the long run.

It Offers Creditor Protection

One of the partners may be running a highly-risky business or have substantial debt balances before marriage. These are some of the reasons why an agreement can be helpful in the event of a divorce.

The document will specify how much money to allocate for conservative investments and high-risk businesses. This is important in California as lenders of any of the parties can reach community property assets. The assets owned before marriage are also included.

About Prenups in California

In the 1980’s prenups , also called antenuptial or premarital agreements, rose in popularity in the United States, but it said that the ancient Romans used premarital agreements. A prenup is a contract signed by two people who intend to marry.

The applicable Golden State statutes provide for the rights and obligations of domestic partners and spouses. Several of these rights can be renegotiated and modified by a contract. Spouses may decide upon future arrangements in advance. Terms can even be stipulated for the eventuality of the untimely demise of a spouse. 

The agreed upon terms may also diverge from the default provisions under the current state law  If this is something one or both people wish to have in place, then a prenuptial agreement is the way to go.

Do You Need a Lawyer for a Prenup in California?

As with all contracts it is possible to create a prenuptial agreement without a lawyer.  If you choose not to retain counsel for this, there are templates  that can guide you.  The risk connected with this course of action,  you may miss pertinent details and make it impossible to later enforce the agreement in court

A Prenup in California: Validity

While it is true that you can create a prenup on your own (at your own peril), getting a prenup in California signed, and later enforced, may necessitate legal counsel.  In large part, courts view prenups in a favorable light. Nonetheless, certain circumstances exist under which a prenup cannot and will not be enforced.  

For example, if any suspected coercion at signing can be demonstrated in court, the agreement is no longer valid.

For the court to allow that a signature was voluntary, the party who was presented with the prenup either had to consult with their own lawyer, or withdrawn, in writing, their right to have a lawyer.

In the California law books, persons must be allowed a minimum of seven days to consult a lawyer before signing a prenuptial agreement. For instance, Kevin, who is engaged to marry Portia, was asked by Portia to sign a prenup.  Kevin doesn’t have a lawyer representing him, but he signs anyway.  A judge might ask Kevin to explain in his own words what the prenup says in order to demonstrate that he was clear about what Portia asked him to sign.  If he is unable to do that, the judge may deem the prenup invalid.

Undue Influence in Prenups

For your prenup to be valid in the state of California, it must be in writing and signed by both spouses. It can be modified or revoked even after the couple has gotten married. Any changes require a written contract. 

The sensitivity of the unique and intimate kinship between husbands and wives makes the mere mention of a prenup invoke suspicions of undue influence.

The corresponding law says that the intimate, fiduciary link between married people “imposes a duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing on each spouse.” Family courts have authority to penalize any violation of this fiduciary obligation. 

Prenups in California: Their Scope

A prenup can tackle issues such as the interests of the future husband and wife in their separate and community property holdings. Interests include the right to sell, lease, buy, or mortgage their real estate. Even the making of a will, the formation of a trust, or the payout of a life insurance death benefit can be limited by a prenup. 

Some important limitations to the authority of prenups:

  • The right of a child to get support cannot be adversely impacted by a prenup
  • A judge will only enforce limitations on spousal support if the affected spouse had the opportunity to secure legal representation at the time they signed.
  • If the courts determine that a waiver of spousal support is unconscionable, they have the authority to decide not to enforce it and award support. 
  • If the prenup obligates a party to commit criminal acts or otherwise break laws or public policy, it is invalid. 
  • Lifestyle clauses, liike ones that dictate the frequency of sex, usually cannot be enforced by courts.