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Who needs a prenup?

Long-term financial planning may not seem romantic, but many couples in California end up wishing they had considered finances before getting married. Contrary to what many people might think, prenuptial agreements aren't just for the wealthy or people in "income gap" marriages. Every couple, regardless of age, previous marital status or financial situation can benefit from discussing finances prior to walking down the aisle.

Why use prenuptial agreements? Finances can be a tricky issue for many couples. Individuals come to relationships with different financial histories. One partner may have high debt while the other may be in a profession that earns a lot of money. By negotiating ahead of time responsibility for debt repayment, property division and spousal support, a couple can reduce the risk of an adversarial divorce if the relationship does not work out.

In addition, couples who choose to use a prenup may also find that they are entering into the marriage with more trust in each other. By knowing what the other partner would expect in a worst-case scenario, each party can feel more confident about entering into a marriage.

Even in situations where the parties are relatively evenly matched in terms of income and assets, a prenuptial agreement can be useful. Circumstances can change, particularly over the length of a long marriage. An experienced family law attorney may be able to assist a client in developing a strong prenuptial agreement. Legal counsel can assess the financial situation of both prospective spouses and then include provisions that could form the basis of a property division settlement should the marriage come to an end. When considering such an endeavor, each party should have separate legal representation.

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