California is a community property state. This means that in the absence of an agreement saying otherwise, all property including earnings acquired by the parties during marriage is presumed to be community property.
Because California is a community property state, any business you start during a marriage is considered both spouses’ property, even if one spouse had nothing to do with its day-to-day operations. However, the parties can agree in a prenuptial (also called premarital) agreement that this business is not community property. A prenuptial agreement can also keep a party’s property separate to protect it from a new spouse’s debt or protect preexisting children’s inheritance rights.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a contract drawn up before the marriage and generally effective when the marriage starts. It specifies both parties’ property rights in the event of a divorce, lists separate property they bring to the marriage and can specify terms such as a waiver or limitation of spousal support.
California law protects both parties with strict requirements for the signing and interpretation of prenuptial agreements, including a requirement that a draft of the final agreement be presented at least seven days before it is signed. It is best if each party has his or her own lawyer.
Why Have a Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement is an agreement entered into between spouses after a marriage. This might be appropriate for parties who have acquired substantial assets or debts since marriage and have new wishes about how their property should be handled if they divorce. Again, it is best if both parties have their own attorneys to advise them about their own needs and desires. With a postnuptial agreement, it is also a good idea to update it periodically, as the parties wishes and desires change over time.
Lewitt Hackman Family Law attorneys are available to draft prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, review prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, advise clients on their best interests and negotiate changes to the proposed agreements.
Our Family Law Attorneys are especially experienced with cases involving people with complex financial situations and substantial assets. As a full-service firm, we can draw on resources both inside and outside the firm to give you complete advice on how your agreement affects your taxes, business interests and other areas of your financial life.
The experienced Los Angeles prenuptial lawyers at Lewitt Hackman are available to answer clients’ questions and handle the drafting, review and negotiation of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. For a consultation, please contact us at (818) 990-2120 or e-mail us now.