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Is a prenup the best divorce protection for California couples?

With spring now in full force, the wedding season is fully upon us. As California couples prepare to wed, there are a multitude of details that need to be addressed before their big day. While the focus may be on flowers and seating charts, couples would be well advised to spend some time attending to their legal needs as they prepare to combine their lives and fortunes. While a prenuptial agreement may not be as exciting a prospect as tasting cakes or trying on dresses, it is a step that can make a world of difference if the marriage should end in divorce.

 

Statistics suggest that couples who are preparing for their second marriage have an even greater need to draft a prenup. More than 70 percent of second marriages will end in divorce. Since spouses tend to bring more wealth into a second marriage than they did the first, there can be far more to lose, should things not work out as planned. In California, state law dictates that absent a prenup, divorcing couples must divide marital property equally.

Consider a marriage in which the wife brings investments and real estate gained from a prior divorce into the union. Should the marriage be dissolved without drafting a prenuptial agreement, she stands to lose half of the value of those holdings. This can be a significant loss, especially if the individual is nearing retirement age or relying on those assets to augment income.

 

When considering a prenuptial agreement, it is important to understand that seeking to protect one's assets against the worst case scenario of divorce is not a statement of mistrust or concern about one's soon-to-be spouse. It is simply a wise financial planning tool, and in many cases, will never be required. Discussing the matter openly and honestly with one's partner is imperative, and in many cases the party who brings it up is pleasantly surprised to find that their partner has been thinking about the topic, as well.

 

Source: channel4000.com, "Getting remarried: Do you need a pre-nup?" Sheri Hack, May 31, 2013

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