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A prenuptial agreement may minimize social network threats

California couples may be aware of statistics showing that approximately half of the marriages in the United States end in divorce. A recent survey showed that activity on various social networks increase the odds of marriages failing. This modern threat to marital bliss may be best addressed by drawing up a prenuptial agreement. Couples who failed to sign such an agreement prior to getting married may protect their marriages by signing a postnuptial agreement to set some ground rules regarding the social network activities of each spouse. Couples may want to agree on full disclosure related to their online activities and create some rules about forming friendships with previous partners.

In addition to rules relating to social network activity, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement typically reflects the couple’s directives with relation to marital and pre-marital property of each spouse -- including monetary assets, earnings and obligations. The couple may also want to address inherited property and gifts, along with asset appreciation. Agreements relating to support rights such as spousal support or alimony, including limitations or waivers, may be recorded in the document. Couples may even record the consequences of one partner developing behavioral problems such as drug use or adultery.

It can be detrimental to both spouses to commit to full disclosure of income and financial assets, as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement -- where concealment of assets is suspected -- may be challenged in court. Although laws related to these agreements vary from state to state, any indication that one party was intimidated and coerced into signing such a marital agreement may lead to a court setting it aside. It may be a good idea for spouses to have separate counsel to protect the interests of each spouse.

California couples that establish a postnuptial or prenuptial agreement will not only protect their marriage against the threats of social networks, but each spouse’s assets will be protected in the unfortunate event of a divorce. In addition, they may minimize legal costs related to litigation. To ensure that all legal requirements are met, couples may benefit from utilizing the available help in drawing up marital agreements. Once a marital agreement is in place, couples will likely have the peace of mind necessary to share a happily married life.

Source: CBS News, "Divorce, social networks and prenups", Ray Martin, July 10, 2014

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
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