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Property division and the prenuptial agreement

A prenuptial agreement may not be the most romantic part of planning for a wedding; however, many California couples discover that it is an essential part of the planning process. As the couple is planning to say "I do," they are not anticipating the end of their relationship. Yet, research shows that approximately half of all marriages end in divorce; this number is even higher for second and third marriages. By discussing financial and property division matters and expectations prior to the wedding, the couple can lay a foundation for communication and planning for future needs.

Typically, property owned prior to the marriage or inherited by one of the individuals is treated as separate property. However, the status of this property can be altered if it is commingled with marital assets or used to support the upkeep of marital assets. Additionally, assets and/or income acquired during the marriage are generally considered community property.

In addition to discussing how assets will be handled in case of divorce, the prenuptial agreement can also address specific assets that should pass to children from a previous relationship upon the death of the individual. By discussing these expectations prior to the marriage, there are fewer surprises later on. Additionally, one can be assured that the children will receive those items intended for them.

As the happy California couple is saying "I do," they do not anticipate that there will come a time when they are no longer together. However, the reality of the matter for many couples is that they need to address this possibility. An experienced attorney can assist the individual in drafting a prenuptial agreement that will address property division concerns as well as other aspects that need to be considered.

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