Our FAQ On Prenuptial Agreements And Marital Settlement Agreements
Prenuptial agreements and marital settlement agreements can raise many questions. These agreements are often more complicated than people realize, and it is important to have an experienced attorney assist you. At the Law Offices of Diane J.N. Morin, we have helped countless clients throughout California with prenuptial and marital agreements. Here, we answer some of the questions people frequently ask us about these documents.
What Is A Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a document that establishes each party’s assets and property and stipulates how to divide these assets in a divorce. A prenuptial agreement can strengthen a marriage because it gives both parties peace of mind.
What Is Covered Under A Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements can protect real estate, death benefits (from life insurance), a will or trust, and other individual benefits that were in place before the marriage. They can also set guidelines for future spousal support (also called alimony), in the case of divorce. Conversely, under California law, the right to child support cannot be affected by a prenuptial agreement.
How Reliable Are These Agreements?
California courts, as with other states, respect and usually enforce reasonable agreements. A court may not enforce an agreement if it was signed under duress. Both parties must be given all pertinent information and sign the agreement when they are of sound mind and body.
Prenuptial agreements often have positive effects on a marriage. They force both people to disclose things that they may have withheld under different circumstances.
What Is A Marital Settlement Agreement?
Also known as a marital separation agreement, a property settlement agreement or a divorce settlement agreement, a marital settlement agreement is a contract between the two divorcing parties that outlines the specifics of their legal separation.
It is created through collaboration between the two individuals as well as an attorney and helps to limit uncertainty when it comes to the results of the divorce.
What Are The Benefits Of A Marital Settlement Agreement?
Advantages of creating an airtight marital settlement include:
- There is no surprise outcome from divorce proceedings.
- Court fees are often much lower.
- Your case likely won’t take as long.
What Kinds Of Topics Does It Cover?
Marital settlement agreements are well-constructed legal documents that should outline a wide range of topics so there is as little uncertainty regarding the divorce outcome as possible. Topics that should be covered include:
- Division of credit, debt, assets, valuables and household items
- Spousal support
- Legal name changes
- Health care resolution
- Child custody, support and visitation
Your particular situation may call for addressing other topics, but most parties will find that resolution of these core factors must be fully determined for a judge to deem the agreement fair and thus grant the divorce according to these terms.
Learn More About These Agreements
Premarital agreements and marital settlement agreements are often complicated and misunderstood. You should work with the Law Offices of Diane J.N. Morin to help you create these agreements. Contact us online or call us at 650-935-4162 to schedule a free initial phone consultation at our office in Palo Alto.