Prenuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements
Prenuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements are great tools for people who want to define how their income, assets and liabilities will be characterized during their marriage or domestic partnership. At Higgs Fletcher & Mack we prepare prenuptial agreements, post-nuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements, and domestic partner agreements.
If considering a prenuptial agreement or domestic partnership agreement we encourage the parties to plan in advance and start the process at least several months prior to the wedding or prior to registering as domestic partners.
The agreements typically address how the parties wish to define their incomes during the marriage – either as community property income – or as separate property income; and the agreements typically address how property and assets – such as real estate, business interests, and retirement funds – will be characterized or held during the marriage.
Prenuptial agreements are strongly encouraged in situations where there may be subsequent marriages and pre-existing assets and liabilities – or if a party has inherited or is coming into the marriage with substantial separate property assets he or she wishes to protect. Often parties have children from prior relationships and they wish to outline and confirm how they want their property to be characterized on an on-going basis.
Without a prenuptial agreement California law will govern how the income received, business interests and assets and liabilities accumulated during marriage or a registered domestic partnership are characterized and assigned in the event of a divorce, legal separation or dissolution of domestic partnership.
However, with a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement the parties can define how they wish to characterize their income, assets and liabilities during the marriage or domestic partnership.
While the process may be uncomfortable or even stressful at times, we remind parties that it is wise to discuss financial issues in advance of marriage or registering as domestic partners in all events – and as one of the most important issues in a relationship, it ultimately is helpful for the parties to be on the same page on these financial issues when entering into these significant relationships.