If you are getting married soon, you are probably excited and optimistic about the future you and your spouse-to-be are planning together. You could already be thinking of your possessions as “ours” rather than “mine” and “yours.”

The idea that you and your spouse might someday have to divide up your wealth and debts could be the furthest thing from your mind. Ironically, with your wedding approaching, now is exactly the time to think about creating a prenuptial agreement.

Not a marriage jinx

Some people think that asking for a prenuptial agreement is a sign you do not expect your marriage to last. That is not what prenups are for. Think of a prenup as more of an insurance policy to make sure what you have worked hard to earn in your career will stay with you no matter what happens.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a type of contract you enter into with your future spouse. The two of you can use it to determine how you would handle the division of your community property if you ever get divorced. In California, community property is virtually anything that you and your spouse acquire during your marriage, as well as assets you brought into the marriage that became comingled with your spouse’s property. Everything else is separate property that you can keep if your marriage ends.

As a community property state, California requires that divorcing spouses divide their community property evenly. By working out property division ahead of time, you and your future spouse can reach creative solutions without the negative feelings and stress of divorce. A prenup can help you keep important assets in your possession, such as:

  • Ownership interest in a business
  • The family home, vacation property or other real estate
  • Family heirlooms, antiques and collectibles

Especially if you are getting married for the second time or you have children from a prior relationship, having a prenup in place can give you peace of mind that you will always be financially secure.

The family law attorney’s role

For a prenup to be valid, both you and your future spouse need to be represented by your own attorney, so that your best interests are represented. Your lawyer will advise you on what a prenuptial agreement can and cannot do, and help you negotiate the terms of your agreement.