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Consequences of not having a prenuptial agreement

California receives scores of media coverage relating to divorce laws and property division. This is mainly because it is one of only eight states where community property rules, along with the many high-profile celebrity divorces that occur in California. However, it is not only celebrities who need to protect their interests. Any couple in California may want to be reminded of the consequences of not having a prenuptial agreement.

It is important to see a prenuptial agreement as a provider of peace of mind, rather than a prediction of divorce. Ensuring that the interests of both parties are protected may afford a couple the opportunity to have a marriage free of anxiety over what would happen if the marriage doesn’t work. Couples who choose not to sign a prenuptial agreement will leave all decisions related to property division to the court, where all assets acquired during the marriage will be divided according to the court’s discretion.

Rather than having a judge simply splitting everything on a 50/50 basis, a prenuptial agreement offers a couple the opportunity to take total control of all matters except child custody. It is important to recognize the issues that may arise when a marriage ends in divorce. Considering that the court will have the right to order the sale of a family home or business, the division of debts, retirement accounts and more, couples may prefer to take control of this process and thereby protect the interests of both parties.

Circumstances typically change as time goes by, and couples may acquire assets that are not covered in their prenuptial agreement. California law allows for such assets to be addressed in a post-nuptial agreement. Couples may benefit from obtaining professional guidance to ensure the legality of such agreements. In addition to taking control of the asset-division process, a prenuptial agreement may also allow a couple to avoid excessive time spent in court, along with related costs.

Source:, "Here's What Happens To Your Stuff When You Get Divorced Without A Prenup", Libby Kane, Aug. 12, 2014

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
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