Protecting Your Future With A Prenuptial Agreement

Benjamin Franklin once said: "I always prepare for the worst, so in case the best happens I am delightfully surprised."

Sound advice. In an age when up to 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce, adults with their own assets often seek the protection of a prenuptial agreement to prepare for all eventualities.

Prenuptial agreements (also called "premarital agreements" or simply "prenups") are enforceable contracts that define the rights and responsibilities of the spouses during the marriage or in case of death, separation or divorce.

At Sena Family Law, our attorney assists clients throughout the Bay Area with drafting, reviewing and enforcing these important documents.

THE MANY BENEFITS OF CREATING A PRENUP

Although they may seem unromantic, a prenuptial agreement can protect the spousal partners in the long run. It may be crafted in such a way as to:

  • Protect significant wealth acquired prior to or during the marriage
  • Safeguard one partner from debts incurred by the other
  • Clarify the ownership of property
  • Opt out of potential spousal support
  • Predetermine spousal inheritance rights

Money is a frequently disputed topic after marriage. Discussing financial matters prior to tying the knot can often provide a sense of security. It also gives the parties an opportunity to understand each other's perspectives and values.

For those entering into second or third marriages, prenups are particularly important. Both parties have likely acquired certain assets and expectations, and those assets and expectations deserve to be protected.

WHY IT'S VITAL TO HIRE A LAWYER INSTEAD OF DOING IT YOURSELF

As with any contract, it is important to understand your rights before signing. A prenuptial agreement can supersede California community property, and both parties need to fully understand the implications of their agreement. This is why counsel from a skilled attorney like Cheryl A. Sena is key.

If you download a generic form from the Internet, it may not stand up to scrutiny if you attempt to enforce it years later. For instance, California law does not allow you to address child support or child custody matters in a prenup, so anything you include about these issues will automatically be considered invalid.

Provisions related to any waiver or limit of spousal support require independent counsel, and current California law tests the provision related to limits on spousal support as to whether the limit was conscionable at the time of the execution of the agreement AND whether the limitation is conscionable at the time of attempted enforcement. Let Sena Family Law draft language that meets the standard necessary for the provision to be valid.

To learn more, call our San Francisco office at 415-906-2556 or send us an email to arrange a free initial consultation.

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