California is a community property state. This means that in the event of a divorce, all assets and debts are split 50-50, regardless of which spouse accrued which debt. While this seems simple enough, it does not mean that couples getting married in California should forgo a prenuptial agreement. Here are three myths you may have heard about prenuptial agreement:
1. Myth: Prenuptial Agreements Lead to Divorce
Signing a prenuptial agreement does not, by itself, foreshadow the end of a marriage. In reality, factors like education, age, and employment are exponentially more likely to be correlated with divorce rates. According to a study by Harvard University, by sitting down to talk about finances when drafting a premarital agreement, couples actually improve their chances of leading a successful marriage.
2. Myth: Prenuptial Agreements Only Benefit One Spouse
A premarital agreement is a contract that both spouses can help draft. A properly designed prenuptial agreement will provide an agreed-upon distribution of assets to both partners should the couple divorce. Both spouse has the right to adjust the agreement before signing it and can strike any clauses that he or she disagrees with. Furthermore, California courts do not enforce any one-sided or predatory premarital agreements.
3. Myth: Prenuptial Agreements Are Only for Assets, Not Debts
It is difficult to predict the amount of money you will be earning in a decade or two, particularly if you go back to school. Without a prenuptial agreement, any student loan debt accrued by you or your spouse during marriage is split 50-50 should you divorce. This means that, if you are divorced, your spouse’s graduate or professional degree can increase his or her earning power while all you are left with is part of his or her debt. By speaking with your partner about future debt management, the prenuptial agreement can provide a platform for honest financial discussions.
Equitable drafting of premarital agreements is essential to starting your marriage off on the right foot. A lawyer will help ensure that your financial future is protected before you enter into marriage. To learn more, contact the San Jose offices of Moreno Family Law at (408) 266-9011.
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