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Protecting your property with a prenup

In our last blog post, we discussed some of the basics of property division in California. We mentioned that one way to protect your property is to have a prenuptial agreement in place prior to getting married. In this post, we will look more closely at this type of document and what it can do.

When a prenup is enforceable, it can establish and protect the assets and wishes of both parties. Some of the issues you will want to consider discussing with regard to your prenup might include:

  • Ownership of separate property you and your partner are bringing into the marriage
  • Payment of debts you already have or plan to incur (like student loans)
  • Permission for transferring, buying, selling, and otherwise controlling property
  • Limitations and allowances for spousal support
  • Directions for property division
  • Personal obligations and rights

These are just some of the matters addressed in a traditional prenuptial agreement in California. The issues you include in your own prenup will depend on your specific assets and needs.

It is important to keep in mind that a prenup, or parts of it, cannot or will not be enforced in specific situations. This can happen if it is contested based on claims of fraud, unconscionability, coercion or improper execution. Under these circumstances, the courts can throw out certain clauses or the entire agreement. Any decisions regarding property division and spousal support that may have been in the prenup would have to be made again, and often with different results.

If you would like to create a prenup, or if you already have one and have questions regarding enforceability, you will want to discuss them in more detail with your attorney. 

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