A prenuptial agreement—also referred to as a pre-nuptial agreement, prenup or premarital agreement—is a contract between a couple before they are married. The agreement generally allows spouses to protect certain assets from being subject to division in a later divorce. At the time of marriage, few of us imagine that we will ever separate or divorce. But statistics show that in the United States, 50% of marriages will end in divorce. So, for some engaged couples, a prenuptial agreement is a good option to protect assets and avoid expensive and confrontational divorce litigation.
The process of drafting a prenuptial agreement does not have to be hostile. It is reasonable for couples to set financial expectations with each other and to protect certain interests—including the financial needs of extended family or children from prior relationships. In fact, discussing expectations before marriage may actually reduce financial disagreements and stress during the marriage.
As a law firm serving San Diego County and the surrounding communities, Shaffer & Associates most often works with couples who are married in, or plan to marry in, California. California is one of a minority of states that recognize community property division if a couple divorces. Essentially, "community property" describes all assets (and debts) that were acquired by a couple during marriage. If the couple divorces, each spouse receives one half of these assets, which can include money, real estate, retirement plans, furniture, automobiles, interests in a business, and other possessions acquired during the marriage.
Accordingly, many California couples are interested in prenuptial agreements in order to have more control of what happens to their money and property in the event of divorce. Prenuptial agreements can also dramatically simplify division of property and commingled assets, especially in complex and high net worth cases.
The attorneys of Shaffer & Associates have over 20 combined years of experience in divorce and family law. We are sensitive to the concerns surrounding marital agreements, whether you are someone seeking to draft an agreement with your intended spouse, someone who has been requested to sign a prenuptial agreement prior to or as a condition of marriage, or someone in the process of divorce seeking to enforce a prenuptial agreement or create a postnuptial agreement. Our lawyers will develop the appropriate prenuptial agreements, review existing agreements, and, if necessary, litigate the validity of marital agreements during divorce proceedings.
When drafting or evaluating prenuptial agreements, we consider it essential to take the time to listen and understand your position so that we can create a contract that honors both your wishes and those of your future spouse. We recognize the importance of thoroughly reviewing your specific situation. We will listen to your needs, assess your current situation, and take into account any concerns you may have from having been married previously.
If called on to enforce or dispute a premarital agreement during divorce proceedings, Shaffer & Associates will aggressively advocate to protect your rights.
The San Diego attorneys of Shaffer & Associates serve San Diego County and the surrounding communities, including Orange County, Riverside County and Los Angeles County. Contact Shaffer & Associates online or call (619) 595-3167 today to consult with us about a new prenuptial agreement or the terms of an existing agreement.