Skip to Content
Claery & Hammond, LLP Claery & Hammond, LLP
Call Us Today! 310-817-6904
Prenuptial Agreements

Los Angeles Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer

How to Get a Prenuptial Agreement in California

The state of California is a community property state, which means that the majority of property acquired during the marriage is owned by both spouses and divided in a divorce or upon death. Prenuptial agreements in this state are covered under the California Family Code Section 1610-1617. Under Section 1610-1671, it states that premarital agreements are to be in writing and signed by both parties, and that they are enforceable without consideration.

Contact Claery & Hammond, LLP online or at (310) 817-6904 to discuss your options with one of our Los Angeles Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers today.

What Does a Prenuptial Agreement Do?

A California premarital agreement generally goes over each party's rights and responsibilities in regards to any property that belongs to either or both parties and whenever or wherever the property was acquired or located.

Here's what a prenuptial agreement in California typically does:

  • Asset Protection: It outlines how assets and debts acquired before the marriage will be divided in the event of divorce or separation. This can include property, investments, business interests, and other financial assets.
  • Property Division: It specifies how property acquired during the marriage will be divided if the marriage ends. Without a prenup, California's community property laws generally dictate that marital property is divided equally in a divorce. A prenup allows couples to decide on a different arrangement.
  • Spousal Support: It can determine whether one spouse will pay alimony (spousal support) to the other in case of divorce, and if so, how much and for how long. However, prenups cannot completely waive the right to spousal support in California, as the court retains the discretion to overrule such provisions if they are deemed unfair or unconscionable.
  • Inheritance Rights: It can specify whether either spouse will retain rights to inherit from the other's estate in the event of death.
  • Debt Allocation: It can address how debts incurred before or during the marriage will be divided upon divorce.
  • Business Interests: It can protect business assets and interests, including ownership stakes, from being divided in a divorce.
  • Clarification of Financial Responsibilities: It can outline financial responsibilities during the marriage, such as how joint finances will be managed and who will be responsible for certain expenses.
  • Protection of Family Assets: If one or both spouses have children from previous relationships, a prenup can protect assets intended for those children.
  • Customization: It allows couples to tailor the agreement to their specific needs and circumstances, providing a level of predictability and control over their financial futures.

In the United States, prenuptial agreements are not allowed to dictate matters regarding children, especially as they pertain to child custody and visitation. Since circumstances can change dramatically as the years go by for a couple, the courts prefer to make a child custody decision based on the bests interests of the child.

Prenuptial agreements are powerful tools, especially in the state of California where if executed properly, they can be legally binding and upheld in the courts. The engaged couple is required to wait seven days after the premarital agreement is presented before signing; however, there is no requirement that says it has to be signed a certain number of days prior to the wedding.

A prenuptial agreement in California can waive one spouse's rights to property and it can set limits on spousal support providing they aren't unreasonable. It can also act as a contract where if one spouse dies they must provide for their spouse upon their death.

Are you considering a prenuptial agreement in California? Contact Claery & Hammond, LLP at (310) 817-6904 to discuss your options today.

Benefits of a Prenup

Prenuptial agreements can offer several benefits for couples considering marriage. Here are some of the main advantages:

  • Protection of Pre-Marital Assets: One of the primary benefits of a prenup is that it allows couples to protect their pre-marital assets. This includes properties, investments, businesses, and other valuable assets acquired before the marriage. By specifying how these assets will be treated in the event of divorce, couples can avoid potential disputes over property division.
  • Clarity and Certainty: Prenups provide clarity and certainty regarding financial matters in the event of divorce. Couples can outline in advance how assets and debts will be divided, which can help minimize conflicts and legal battles during divorce proceedings. This can save both time and money by avoiding lengthy litigation.
  • Preservation of Family Wealth: Prenuptial agreements can be particularly beneficial for individuals with significant family wealth or inheritance. By stipulating that certain assets are to remain separate property, couples can ensure that family wealth is preserved and passed down to future generations according to their wishes.
  • Protection of Business Interests: For entrepreneurs and business owners, prenups can protect their business interests from being divided in a divorce. Without a prenup, a spouse may be entitled to a portion of the business or its profits, potentially jeopardizing its operations or ownership structure. A prenup can specify that the business remains separate property or outline a fair method for valuing and dividing its assets.
  • Customization: Prenuptial agreements are highly customizable, allowing couples to tailor the terms to their specific needs and circumstances. Whether it's determining spousal support obligations, outlining financial responsibilities during the marriage, or addressing other concerns, couples have the flexibility to create an agreement that reflects their intentions and priorities.
  • Protection of Children's Interests: Prenups can also protect the interests of children from previous relationships. By safeguarding assets intended for children or ensuring that certain family heirlooms remain within the biological family, parents can provide for their children's financial future while entering into a new marriage.
  • Avoiding Conflict: By openly discussing financial matters and expectations before marriage, couples can strengthen their communication and understanding of each other's financial values and goals. This can help prevent misunderstandings and conflicts related to money down the road, promoting a healthier and more stable relationship.
  • Peace of Mind: Finally, having a prenuptial agreement in place can provide peace of mind for both parties, knowing that their financial interests are protected and that they have a plan in case the marriage ends in divorce. This sense of security can contribute to a stronger foundation for the marriage itself.

Do I Need a Prenup?

The theory behind the community property state is that everything is divided equally and more or less 50/50, whereas in an equitable distribution state such as New York, property may be divided in an unequal fashion and according to what a judge deems fair and just considering the circumstances.

If you are a person of means and your fiancé is not, then the laws of community property may work against you. Since the state of California tends to divide assets down the middle, a large percentage of engaged couples seek out asset protection in a prenuptial agreement. While bringing up the idea of a prenuptial agreement is anything but romantic, pressing forward with one is truly the responsible thing to do and you can count on the fact that anyone in your position would do the same.

It is also a common misconception that only couples who possess large amounts of money or significant property need to enter into a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement can have many potential benefits and can ensure that your finances are protected in the event of divorce.

Individuals who have children from another marriage often choose to do prenuptial agreements because it ensures that the children will be taken care of in the event of their death. A prenup can also protect one spouse from losing half of the assets from their business or inheritance as community property.

Who Needs a Prenuptial Agreement?

If you fall under one the of following situation, it is necessary to get a prenuptial agreement:

  • Significant assets: If one of the parties enters the marriage with a significant investment account or real estate, the agreement can explain what will happen to those assets in the event of a split.
  • Significant debts: If one party has significant debts, the agreement can ensure that those debts are kept separate in case of a divorce. However, be aware that if your spouse owes money in federal student loans or taxes, you could be held liable for that debt after the divorce, even if you have a prenuptial agreement.
  • Vastly different income: It's not uncommon for one spouse to earn significantly more than the other spouse. In the event of a divorce, a prenuptial agreement can set a limit on how much the lower-earning spouse gets providing the agreement is reasonably fair. While a couple can write an agreement that says that alimony will not be awarded under any circumstances, enforcing it can be difficult, especially in a long-term marriage.
  • Owning a business: If one of the parties owns a small business, it's wise to draw up a prenuptial agreement that will protect the business' assets, and shield the non-owner spouse from liabilities.
  • Subsequent marriages: While prenups do not replace estate plans, they can dictate who will pay for certain expenses for children from a previous marriage and outline how each spouse's assets will be split upon death or divorce.
  • Inheritance situations: In California, an inheritance is not considered community property, meaning it belongs strictly to the spouse who inherited it.

Cash inheritances are not problematic, but inheriting real estate can be, especially when the married couple moves into the home and both spouses contribute to the house payments. A prenuptial agreement can explain how separate interest in the home is to be maintained, even if both spouses pay the mortgage.

Do You Need a Lawyer for a Prenup in California?

It is common for many engaged couples to feel uncomfortable discussing prenuptial agreements. It is viewed as a taboo subject, because no new couple wants to acknowledge the fact that they may at one point decide to divorce. We urge you to take a detached and practical view of the subject, because it is imperative that you protect yourself, your family, and your finances.

Since prenuptial agreements in California can take months to negotiate, it's a wise idea to begin drafting one sooner than later as opposed to waiting to the last minute as many couples tend to do. If you are getting married and are going to need a prenuptial agreement, then it's imperative that you have your own legal representation.

If you are currently engaged, a Los Angeles prenuptial agreement lawyer at Claery & Hammond, LLP can help you with a number of legal issues to ensure you are protected when entering marriage. Our firm is experienced in creating all types of nuptial agreements including postnuptial agreements, and we assist you.

Wondering what benefits come from having a California prenuptial agreement in place? Call Claery & Hammond, LLP at (310) 817-6904 today!

What Makes Claery & Hammond, LLP Different?

It's Easy. We Put Our Clients First.
  • Featured Los Angeles Times Family Law Practitioners 

  • We Provide Unique, Tailor-Made Solutions for Each Client

  • We Offer a Free Initial Case Consultation
  • Our Team Has Over 50 Years of Combined Experience
  • Our  Attorneys Handle All Types of Family Court Issues
  • We Solely Focus on the Areas of Divorce and Family Law

Contact Claery & Hammond, LLP Today!

We’re Ready to Help

A member of our team will be in touch shortly to confirm your contact details or address questions you may have.

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • By submitting, you agree to be contacted about your request & other information using automated technology. Message frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Acceptable Use Policy