If you and your beloved are a California couple looking forward to your upcoming marriage, this is one of the happiest and most exciting times in your life. Your world is beautiful and your future is full of promise. Both of you fully intend to live out the fairytale of happily ever after.
While such plans and intentions are laudable and expected at this stage of your relationship, the reality is that the American divorce rate hovers somewhere around 50 percent and has done so for the past 30 years. Just because the two of you are madly in love now does not mean that you will remain so 10 or 20 years from now. While it may seem that bringing up the subject of a prenuptial agreement only throws cold water on your present idyllic situation, neither you nor your soon-to-be spouse is a child. Marriage itself is an adult commitment and adults, among other things, responsibly manage their assets now so as to avoid nasty surprises in the future.
Prenuptial agreement “do’s”
As FindLaw explains, a prenuptial agreement by definition is an agreement that you and your intended sign prior to your nuptials; i.e., your wedding. It can include virtually anything either or both of you wants included relating to your respective and mutual finances. Having said that, most prenups cover the following things:
- A complete description of what separate property each of you brings to your marriage
- How each of you will provide for any children you have by a previous relationship
- How you intend to handle credit cards and credit card debts during your marriage
- How you intend to handle your respective 401(k) and other investment accounts
- How you intend to handle any business you start together after your marriage
Prenuptial agreement “don’ts”
Remember, your prenup must cover only things relating to financial issues. It cannot include anything of a personal nature. For instance, it cannot specify such things as the following:
- Who makes which child-rearing decisions
- Who does which household chores
- Who makes travel decisions
- Who makes holiday destination decisions
While this information should not be taken as legal advice, it can help you understand prenuptial agreements and what they can and cannot contain.