Family Practice: Prenuptial Agreement
San Francisco matrimonial attorneys at Lvovich & Szucsko P.C. can explain how a prenuptial or antenuptial agreement helps you protect financial rights and objectives during marriage.
What is a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract between a couple planning to marry that establishes financial guidelines and responsibilities after marriage. Under San Francisco family law, courts recognize prenuptial agreements as valid legal documents.
Typically, when a couple divorces or a spouse dies, finances become an issue in terms of dividing property or distributing inheritances. A prenuptial agreement prevents state law from taking precedence over their wishes at death or after divorce. Because California is a community property state, property may be considered co-owned unless established as separate property.
Matters addressed in a prenuptial agreement often include:
- Children from previous marriages. Today, many spouses have been previously married and have children from those marriages. A spouse may want to leave property to children at death, rather than having all property go to the surviving spouse. The prenuptial agreement can specify inheritance.
- Divorce. The prenuptial agreement can outline how finances should be handled in the event of divorce. Property division can be stated in the prenuptial agreement along with stipulations regarding spousal support.
- Debt protection. Either party may approach the marriage with previously acquired debt. For the sake of protecting pre-existing assets against liability from creditors, the prenuptial agreement may contain asset protection terms for separate property.
- Maintain separate incomes. Under California law, income generated by married couples would generally become community property. In a prenuptial agreement a couple can waive their rights to share property and specify income as separate property.
Prenuptial agreements may not enforce penalties against spouses for undesirable behavior, such as drug use or extra-marital relations. Nor can it demand a particular religious faith for childrearing or that a spouse must perform certain household duties.
What is an antenuptial agreement?
Antenuptial agreement is another name used for a prenuptial agreement. Matrimonial law grants domestic partnerships the legal right to work out prenuptial or antenuptial agreements prior to registering a partnership.