The dissolution of a marriage is typically an emotional and stressful experience, even when the decision to get divorced is mutual. When two people spend years sharing space, chores, and financial responsibilities, and possibly raising children together, an end to this arrangement rarely comes without some difficulty. When significant wealth and assets are involved, the stakes can be particularly high.
One way to preemptively mitigate problems related to the division of assets and property in a divorce is to obtain a prenuptial agreement before marriage. A prenuptial agreement, often referred to as a prenup, is a legal document stipulating the property rights of both spouses in the event of a divorce.
Whether you are considering a prenuptial agreement before marriage, or you have an existing prenup and an impending divorce, it is in your best interest to seek legal counsel from a prenuptial agreement lawyer with extensive experience in this specific area.
At The Sands Law Group APLC, our highly-skilled, knowledgeable Los Angeles prenuptial agreement lawyers will guide you through this process in the least painful, and most economical way possible. We provide premier legal services at an affordable rate and a multi-lingual staff who can communicate with clients in five languages: Hebrew, French, Arabic, Spanish, and English. Contact The Sands Law Group APLC today for a confidential consultation about your case.
Prenuptial Agreement Laws in California
Married couples sometimes hold jointly-owned property, such as vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, the family home, a vacation home, and even a business. If they divorce, both jointly-owned property and property in only one spouse’s name must be divided, and there are very specific laws in California stipulating exactly how this is to be done.
In some cases, the couple will agree on how to divide assets, and the process will be less complex and contentious. More often than not, however, there is some debate over who gets what, and sometimes this “debate” can get quite messy. Fortunately, with the help of an experienced Los Angeles prenuptial agreement lawyer, property division in a divorce doesn’t have to be a nightmare.
California Property Division Laws
California is a community property state, which means that any property accumulated during the marriage (community property) will generally be divided 50/50 between the divorcing spouses. California is one of only nine community property states. Community property typically includes anything that the couple bought or acquired together during the marriage, but excludes assets owned by only one spouse, before the marriage.
This, however, is the default law, and a properly drafted prenuptial agreement should take precedence over the default laws. Let’s say that Jane and Gary start a business together, but a prenuptial agreement drafted prior to the marriage stipulates that all business interests and assets will go to Jane if the couple gets divorced. Without the prenup, the business would have been divided 50/50 based on California’s community property laws, but with the prenup, Jane will get 100 percent of the business, and Gary will walk away empty-handed.
Although a prenuptial agreement can be a highly-effective tool for managing property division in a potential divorce, a poorly drafted prenup, or one that does not follow state laws and guidelines, could be a completely useless piece of paper. The laws around property division and prenuptial agreements are complex, and it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Los Angeles agreement attorney if you have questions about how these laws will impact your unique situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Rights are Covered in a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements cover a wide range of subjects, generally dealing with property rights. As long as they are properly drafted and not in violation of the law, prenups are usually upheld and enforceable. They may address jointly-owned and separately-owned property, and the rights of both spouses to control, manage, or dispose of the property in a divorce. Prenups may also address life insurance death benefits, and the making of a will or trust to ensure that their wishes are carried out accordingly.
When Might a Prenup Not be Enforceable?
There are times when a prenuptial agreement cannot be enforced because it violates state laws or public policy, or its terms are in violation of someone’s legal rights. Some scenarios in which a prenup may be deemed invalid include:
- No written agreement can be found. Verbal prenuptial agreements are not legally binding.
- Lack of disclosure. If one spouse failed to provide full disclosure of their assets and liabilities before the prenup was signed, the agreement may be invalid in a divorce.
- Coercion. If one spouse was coerced into signing the prenup against their will, or inadequate time was given to properly analyze the contract and obtain legal advice, the contract will likely be deemed invalid and unenforceable.
Furthermore, since ensuring that children’s rights and best interests are protected is a priority in both Hawaii and California, a prenuptial agreement that adversely affects the rights of a child is unlikely to be enforceable.
Contact Our Experienced Los Angeles Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys Today
If you have questions about property division or prenuptial agreements, or you wish to enforce an existing prenup in your divorce, the skilled legal team at The Sands Law Group APLC can help. We have assisted countless clients as they embark on the next chapter of their lives in the most seamless, efficient, and economical manner possible. Our knowledgeable, compassionate Los Angeles prenuptial agreement lawyers will ensure that your rights and best interests are protected throughout the entire process. Contact us today for a confidential consultation about your case.