If asked, few people would willingly turn over their future financial decisions to lawmakers or judges, but the truth is that without a premarital agreement, that is exactly what happens. Executing a premarital agreement gives both parties control over future financial matters. And premarital agreements are designed for more than just divorce.
In fact, California law allows the parties to a planned marriage a great degree of control over future financial matters, regardless of how the marriage ends. For example, a couple could agree to one set of conditions if the marriage ended in divorce but a separate set of conditions if the marriage ended with the death of one of the parties.
At the core of a valid premarital agreement are voluntariness and full disclosure. In fact, if either of these conditions are not met, the agreement is unenforceable. In addition, a premarital agreement must be made before the marriage occurs. The agreement only becomes effective after the marriage has been formalized.
A couple can set forth their respective rights and obligations with regard to several matters in a premarital agreement:
- real and personal property ownership, management, and control;
- the disposition of property at the termination of the marriage;
- the requirement to create another document — such as a will or trust — to execute the provisions of the premarital agreement; and
- the ownership and disposition of life insurance death benefits.
A premarital agreement may make provisions for spousal support, but, by law, it cannot control child support or child custody.
California law relating to premarital agreements also contains several formalities that must be followed for the agreement to be enforceable. If you need the assistance of an experienced California family lawyer to protect your interests in the drafting or interpretation of a premarital agreement, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger can help. Make the call today to learn how our attorneys can fight for you: (415) 293-8314.