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  3. Prenuptial Agreement: What Is and Isn’t Covered by the Agreement?

Many see prenuptial agreements as a way of protecting one’s assets should divorce ever come up, but prenuptial agreements have evolved in recent years.

In fact, they are now far more common and certainly less offensive to those who are being asked to sign them. In California, prenups are used to address a number of uncertainties that come with marriage and divorce.

One reason for a prenup is to protect the children’s interests from previous marriages. For example, a couple gets married, both of whom have been married in the past and have older children.

There may be life insurance policies, bank accounts, real estate and any number of other assets that a spouse wants to ensure is not seen as fair game in a divorce.

If divorce does occur, the division of assets will not include anything that’s outlined in the prenuptial agreement. The prenup can almost serve as a protective mechanism.

Of course, any couple that is financially successful may see a prenup or even a post-nuptial agreement as one way of keeping the assets intact. This is important if, say, a lawsuit is filed due to an accident and the case is won.

A big settlement is paid out, but the couple divorced a year later.  Is that award considered marital property?

In this case, a post-nuptial agreement could be used to protect that asset.

It can give the injured or otherwise affected spouse some peace of mind, especially if the award was to be used to support himself because they are now disabled due to whatever occurred that led to the lawsuit in the first place.

And speaking of support, prenups are often part of an estate plan in California. These can work in tandem to eliminate any ambiguity and provide additional protection.

The reality is couples who argue about money on a weekly basis are more likely to divorce than their counterparts who argue about money no more than once a month.

Yet another reality is more people are marrying two, three or even four times these days. That’s a lot of assets, concerns, children and divorce attorneys to factor into today’s contemporary marriage.

If you think you don’t have enough assets to warrant any kind of prenuptial agreement in California, consider this:

  • Have you inherited assets from a grandmother or other family member?
  • Do you have a trust fund?
  • Do you own your own home?
  • Is your retirement plan even slightly impressive?
  • Do you have children from another marriage or union?
  • Have you been frugal in your life and now enjoy a life that does not include worrying about the bills?

You may want to rethink your certainty if the answer to any of those questions is yes. You may or may not ever have to use your prenuptial agreement, but you knowing the bases are covered, especially if it’s your second or third marriage.

It can go a long way in protecting your future, your children’s future, their education and the hard work it took to build savings, buy a home, and enjoy the fruits of that hard work.

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