A common question faced by Sacramento residents who are contemplating marriage or re-marriage is whether to sign a prenuptial agreement that has been requested by the other party. This question is especially common in second marriages where one or both parties have significant assets.
Prenuptial agreements may seem antithetical to the emotions of deep affection and trust that ordinarily accompany the decision to marry, but prenuptial agreements can often have effects that will ensure the long term survival of those intense feelings. Although prenuptial agreements usually look ahead to how assets will be divided by the couple in the event of a divorce, the agreements may give one or both couples peace of mind about what happens to their assets.
Most prenuptial agreements primarily address property questions such as division of the homestead, division of securities and retirement plan benefits. By resolving these questions before the marriage takes place (a prenuptial agreement must be signed before the marriage in order to be valid), both parties can enter the marriage without worrying about how their individual property will be distributed. Many parties entering second marriages have children from a previous marriage, and a prenuptial agreement can insure that those children will inherit their parents' assets instead of having the assets commingled with the assets of the other spouse.
The statute that governs prenuptial agreements in California has strict requirements for ensuring validity. As noted the agreement must be signed before the marriage takes place. Each party must be afforded the opportunity to review information about the other party's assets. A prenuptial agreement can be invalidated if either party engaged in fraud in persuading the other party to sign the agreement. Anyone who may wish to enter into a prenuptial agreement may wish to consult an experienced family law attorney for advice.