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Prenuptial agreements and the division of marital assets

When couples decide to marry, most of the time the last thing on their minds is what will happen if they divorce. Such considerations are deemed unromantic or even cynical. This may be true in part, but, depending upon a California resident's circumstances, it may be prudent to give at least a small measure of thought to this matter. The rules pertaining to the division of marital assets vary between states ,meaning that it is often wise to have the guidance of a legal professional when drafting a prenuptial agreement.

Creating a prenup may not necessarily be as simple as stating that each person leaves the marriage with the property with which he or she entered it. A prenup may prove more difficult to enforce if, for example, a couple moves to a different state, with different laws, during the marriage. The difference between community property states and equitable distribution states is vast, meaning that existing agreements should be reviewed whenever a couple moves. 

While it is impossible to foretell what one's future may hold, it is advisable to consider which eventualities are covered by the terms of the prenuptial agreement. This could consist of ensuring the inheritances of children from previous relationships or allowing for changes based on the personal circumstances of each individual. One may also wish to incorporate clauses concerning extreme scenarios, such as abuse or criminal convictions.

A prenup may not hold all of the answers, but may allow significant pre-marriage assets to be protected in the event of divorce. The signing of a prenup does not necessarily exclude the possibility of a fair and equitable settlement. Residents of California facing the division of marital assets may find it beneficial to seek appropriate advice and guidance at any stage of the divorce proceedings, whether or not a prenup is in place.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Common Prenuptial Agreement Legal Issues", Brad Reid, Feb. 18, 2015

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