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How to talk about and create a fair prenup

Signing a prenuptial agreement can be an important step for some California couples. A prenup can offer financial protection in case of a divorce and make the process of property division less painful. However, it is important that both individuals are involved in creating the agreement and that it satisfies both of them.

One woman was surprised when her boyfriend gave her a cohabitation agreement to sign before they moved in together. They had already agreed that she would pay a reduced amount of rent on the home that he had bought with the help of his mother, who made half of the down payment and cosigned for the home loan. However, the woman objected to parts of the agreement, including some provisions for when they were married. It said that if they divorced, she would not be entitled to any spousal support. She would also not receive any financial compensation for the home regardless of what contributions she made to it.

A prenup like this can still be salvaged. Couples need to discuss any parts of the prenup that make them uncomfortable. One solution in this case might have been to grant her a certain percentage of equity in the home each year. The prenup could also have a sunset clause so that it would lapse after a certain number of years.

Without a prenup, property division in California means everything that is considered community property is supposed to be split equally. This could include a business owned by either spouse, investments, and retirement accounts. Couples do have the option to negotiate an agreement that does not necessarily involve splitting everything 50/50. One may be more attached to certain assets than the other. For example, one might end up keeping the home while the other could keep a retirement account.

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Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz
6877 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92506

Phone: 951-335-0510
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