You have homeowner’s insurance for your house, collision insurance for your car, and health insurance in case you need a doctor. Now that you and your partner are planning to get married, if your insurance agent offered you something called marriage insurance, would you consider it?
Of course, there is no such thing as marriage insurance, but there is something better. Prenuptial agreements are contracts you and your future spouse work out together to decide how you would split up your community property if your marriage were to end in divorce. Also known as premarital agreements and prenups, having one in place can give you and your spouse-to-be predictability and assurance that you each will get to keep those assets that are most important to you. An ownership stake in a family business is one example.
What can go into a prenup?
A premarital agreement generally focuses on property rights. For example, in California, you cannot use a prenup to decide on child custody or child support arrangements. Also, a family court judge may decide not to enforce portions of a prenuptial agreement if they impact a child’s right to support that they would otherwise be owed by one or both of their parents.
Here is a list of examples of things you and your future spouse can include in your prenuptial agreement:
- How you will divide community property
- Whether each spouse will keep their separate property, or other arrangements
- The ownership rights of a life insurance policy’s death benefit
Community property includes most assets acquired during the marriage. Separate property refers to assets you or your spouse will bring into the marriage, as long as those valuables do not become comingled, at which point they become community property.
How your family law attorney will help
For a premarital agreement to be valid, both you and your partner must each have an attorney representing you. Your lawyer will explain how negotiating and drafting a prenup works, negotiate on your behalf, and go over the resulting document with you so that you understand it thoroughly.