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A premarital agreement may help avoid property division dispute

While most people are familiar with a prenuptial agreement, some couples may not consider it a necessary part of their wedding plans. Regardless of economic status, a premarital agreement may prove to be an invaluable aid in deciding property division issues should a divorce occur down the line. California residents who are planning to marry may benefit from having one of these documents drawn up before the vows are exchanged.

In many cases, a prenup is created as a way of protecting the assets that each party may bring into a marriage. However, it can be implemented regardless of the current assets of each party. Prenuptial agreements are typically honored by a family court as long as they are not unfair, illegal or contrary to public policy. If one party received an inheritance or has children from a previous relationship, then these contracts can ensure that the assets protected by the agreement can be dispersed to those children or other designated recipients rather than be claimed by the former spouse.

These agreements can also be used to delineate the obligations that each spouse will have toward the other. They can set out whether alimony will be paid or requested and how the parties may work to resolve differences. A prenup can also be used to help prevent disputes over personal and real property in the event the couple does eventually divorce.

There are certain conditions that limit what these agreements can dictate. A prenuptial agreement cannot violate any laws or state statutes; children cannot be denied material support and creditors cannot be defrauded. Furthermore, matters pertaining to child custody or support cannot be addressed in these agreements. While not every engaged couple in California may want a premarital agreement, it may indeed prove its usefulness when it comes to property division in a divorce. An experienced family law practitioner can help draft an agreement that protects the client's interests and will pass muster should it later become necessary to enforce in court.

Source: bizjournals.com, "How a premarital agreement can protect you", Randall Wilhite, Sept. 29, 2017

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