Immigration & California Family Law – Why have a Prenuptial Agreement?

Immigration law is important and that is all that we cover most of the time. But our immigrant readers, may be facing other legal challenges from time to time. So we rely on our lawyer friends from across the country, to provide guest articles and reports. This week we are proud to feature Attorney Charles Ward’s Family Law expertise. Charles is an experienced Family lawyer that often assists me with Family Immigration matters. I am grateful for his contribution to the Blog.

Although no one enters into a marriage expecting it to end, about 50 percent of all married couples in California eventually separate. With a prenup you can protect yourself in the event of a dissolution of marriage (divorce).

The prenuptial agreement is a legal device designed to remove some of the concerns and liabilities foisted upon a married couple. A properly crafted prenup can solve disagreements before they happen, whether involving personal business involvement, individually held real estate and property, credit hangups and debt, the disposition of finances, or any monetary arrangements left over from life before marriage. It’s also a useful tool for post-marriage arrangements. Support payments, income arrangements and property rights can all be sorted out in advance, to the satisfaction of both parties.

The functional objectives of a prenuptial agreement can include the following:
• Limitations on spousal support (SS) in the event the marriage is eventually dissolved: do you want to support your spouse after a divorce?
• Generate and enable specific property rights, including limitations on the creation of community property (CP) during the marriage.

• Establish the preservation of separate property (SP) during the marriage, items which the individual owned beforehand: protect your home and interests.

• Define the values of specific items of separate property, such as stock market investments and cars.

• Render your income separate property.

A prenuptial agreement, also called an antenuptial agreement, or premarital agreement, commonly abbreviated to prenup or prenupt, is basically a contract entered into by two people prior to marriage or civil union. The content of a prenuptial agreement can vary widely, but commonly includes provisions for the division of property should the couple divorce and any rights to spousal support during or after the dissolution of marriage, and contain promises, representations, and disclosures regarding details of the couples finances. Couples can also enter into a post-marital agreement to cover the same concerns.

Very often, people who have substantial property or income will want to protect it from the high rate of divorce. However, prenuptial agreements are becoming more and more common among people from all walks of life, including young people starting off, seniors nearing retirement, and couples with immigration cases.

Our California Supreme Court stated it to be their policy that these agreements are to be enforced as promoting marriage in a world of marital uncertainty.

Under California Family Code Section 1600, The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act enables the legal functionality of a prenuptial agreement in the state of California. Recent California Supreme Court cases, such as Bonds v. Bonds and Pendleton v. Fireman, made clear the intent of the court to uphold these agreements and thereby promote marriage.

If you are interested or have any questions regarding a prenuptial agreement please feel free to give us a call or email me.