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By Dorit Goikhman
Founding Attorney

Navigating the world of matrimony often includes discussions that extend beyond wedding venues and honeymoon plans. For many Californians, one of these topics is the prenuptial agreement. Consulting a California prenuptial attorney is a smart move if you’re considering one.

Here’s a look at what you should include in your California prenup to protect both parties’ interests.

1. Full Financial Disclosure

Before signing any California prenup, both parties should provide a comprehensive list of their assets, liabilities, income, and expenses. It ensures transparency and builds trust, giving both partners clarity on their financial standing.

2. Property Division:

Determine how assets acquired both before and during the marriage will be divided upon divorce. Remember, California is a community property state, which generally means assets acquired during the marriage are divided equally upon divorce. However, a prenup can alter this general rule if both parties agree.

3. Spousal Support:

While some couples decide to waive spousal support entirely, others may set specific amounts or conditions. Your California prenuptial attorney can guide you on how to approach this, given the state’s rules and considerations.

4. Debt Responsibility:

A key aspect of a California prenup is specifying who will be responsible for debts incurred before and during the marriage. This is crucial to ensure one party isn’t unjustly burdened with the other’s debts in case of separation.

5. Retirement Benefits:

Discuss and document how retirement benefits will be divided. It’s essential to understand both federal and state laws concerning retirement accounts, especially in a state as complex as California.

6. Business Assets:

If either party is a business owner or part of a family business, it’s wise to clarify how business assets will be treated upon divorce. Without clear guidelines, business assets can become a major point of contention.

7. Estate Plans:

Prenups can also outline what happens to assets upon the death of a spouse. This can be particularly relevant for those with children from previous marriages or specific inheritance intentions.

8. Procedures for Future Amendments:

Circumstances change, and what’s relevant today might not be tomorrow. Ensure your California prenup has a clause detailing how it can be amended in the future.

9. Sunset Clauses:
Some couples opt for a sunset clause, which means the prenup expires after a certain number of years. This can be a point of negotiation, especially if one party is more hesitant about the idea of a prenup.

In Conclusion

While prenuptial agreements might not be the most romantic topic, they are practical and can help prevent potential future conflicts. Hiring a California prenuptial attorney will ensure you’re informed, protected, and prepared. Remember, marriage is as much a financial union as it is an emotional one, so ensure you’re entering it with open eyes and clear understandings.

About the Author
Dorit L. Goikhman is a licensed attorney, with years of experience representing clients throughout Central California in business, real estate, and family matters. After witnessing numerous clients spend fortunes and waste years of their lives in litigation, Dorit became interested in mediation and all that it has to offer. Dorit is committed in helping parties work together to obtain a mutually acceptable solution to their disputes at a fair price. Her approach is to keep things simple, confidential, and efficient with the goal of preserving the parties’ assets, reputations, and sanity. If you have any questions regarding this blog, you can contact Dorit here.