California is a community property state which means that nearly all income and assets earned by either party during the marriage is considered to be marital property. Marital property is then subject to 50-50 division upon divorce, under state law.
When couples want to work out an arrangement outside of what’s provided under state law, they can enter a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot. These legal contracts can be used to keep income and assets separate during a marriage. They can also deal with issues such as spousal support awards and the disposition of death benefits.
Although a prenuptial agreement may seem like an unromantic thing to discuss with a soon-to-be spouse this close to Valentine’s Day, the topic can actually promote intimacy and transparency in a relationship when approached appropriately.
Money is often an emotional issue that can make people nervous. However, when a couple discusses their insecurities, goals and fears together, it can promote a sense of closeness. Discussing a potential prenuptial agreement in a setting in which both parties feel comfortable can also reduce any hard feelings.
Ultimately, a prenuptial agreement isn’t meant to be a bad thing. If executed properly, it can provide both parties with predictability and stability as they enter a marriage.
Note: While the comfort of your own home over a bottle of wine might be the best place to begin talking about a prenup, make sure to head to a family law attorney’s office when it comes time to draft the document. That’s because in California there are certain requirements that must be met in order for the contract to be enforceable.
Source: Your Tango, “Should You Get A Prenup After Marriage?” Pegi Burdick, Feb. 11, 2014