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Understanding the Pros and Cons of a Prenuptial Agreement

In 2019, there were 746,971 divorces total in 45 of the 50 states, according to the CDC/NCHS National Vital Statistics System. Divorce is a reality for many couples in the United States, and marriages end whether there’s a plan for what happens afterward or not.

An experienced family law attorney can answer important questions for you before you marry. Karen S. Brown is a Certified Legal Specialist in Family Law by the State Bar of California, meaning that she’s undergone legal training above and beyond the norm, making her uniquely well-qualified to handle family law concerns in California. She can offer you the detailed guidance and advocacy you need to navigate the important decisions in your life. The Law Office of Karen S. Brown is proud to serve clients in Los Angeles County, as well as Ventura County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and the neighboring areas.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement, or a “prenup,” is a marital agreement that a couple enters into before getting married that describes how finances will be handled if the marriage ends.

A prenup covers details regarding asset division upon divorce, provisions for children from a previous marriage or relationship, and protection against debts or liabilities incurred by the other spouse. Other key areas covered by a prenuptial agreement include estate plans, family property staying within the family, and how finances, responsibilities, household bills, and expenses will be managed.

It’s a common misconception that prenuptial agreements are only for the wealthy or for people who think they’re going to divorce. That’s not the case. A prenup can help anyone and everyone when a marriage ends or when a spouse passes away for several different reasons.

What Are the Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement?

Many couples decide to enter into a prenuptial agreement for a variety of reasons.

Prenuptial agreements help:

  • Define expectations in a marriage

  • Simplify the process of asset division

  • Draw clear boundaries in a marriage

  • Prepare you for life’s unexpected events

  • Settle other financial agreements

  • Enable you to have an authentic conversation about what matters to each person during a marriage

Perhaps most importantly, a prenuptial agreement can provide peace of mind. You can remain optimistic about your marriage while also having a plan if circumstances change.

What Are the Drawbacks of a Prenuptial Agreement?

While there are many benefits to signing a prenuptial agreement, there are also some potential disadvantages as well.

The most significant drawback is that a prenup may be unnecessary. In some states, divorce laws already define how property will be divided in the case of a divorce, and that definition may be what you already were looking for.

In California, the community property law states that all property acquired during the marriage that is not a gift or inheritance will be divided equally upon divorce. So, if you are only looking to keep 50% of the property you acquired during the marriage after the divorce, then you may not need a prenup.

One other drawback of a prenup is that some people perceive it as a dark shadow over the marriage. They may see it as a discouraging forecast that the marriage will end. However, many couples who enter into a prenup do so with an optimistic outlook. They agree to a prenup on the premise that they won’t need it, but it’s important to have one just in case.

Get Guidance From an Experienced Attorney

A prenuptial agreement can provide key protections if a marriage ends. No matter what your circumstances are, a prenup will answer important questions. Karen S. Brown will help you settle on a marital agreement that considers all the relevant factors. The Law Office of Karen S. Brown proudly serves clients in Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and the nearby areas. Contact the firm today to schedule your free prenup consultation.