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When Do I Really Need a Prenuptial Agreement?

Posted on in Family Law

Los Gatos CA prenup attorney“Work for the best, but prepare for the worst.” That is the reason many people choose to create a prenuptial agreement

When you plan your wedding day, you believe in the power of love, and you expect your marriage to last. No matter how hard you work at it, though, sometimes relationships break. It may be due to a developing alcohol or drug use disorder, infidelity, or simply a gradual divergence in your goals and expectations. Whatever the reason, if a split happens, you will be glad you put a prenuptial agreement in place. In fact, the process of discussing your individual finances and future goals can actually strengthen your relationship as you begin married life.

When Is a California Prenuptial Agreement Most Important?

Under California law, all income and property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be owned equally by both spouses; this is called community property or marital assets. It does not matter whose name is on the title of a car or piece of real estate; that asset is still considered community property. Upon divorce, community property must be divided equally between the spouses, regardless of how long the marriage lasted.

Property owned before the marriage or acquired by gift or inheritance made solely to one person is considered that person’s separate property; it does not automatically become community property upon marriage. However, if one spouse uses the proceeds from the sale of their prior home (a separate asset) to buy the couple’s new home, and the other spouse contributes to the maintenance and improvement of the property over time, that other spouse acquires a community interest in that home.

Here are several situations that may call for a prenuptial agreement to provide you with protection:

  • You have a large income and want to make sure all of your earnings and retirement savings during the marriage do not become community property. Your agreement can state that a certain percentage of your income will be placed in a separate account that is not community property.
  • Your spouse has a lot of debt coming into the marriage, while you do not, and you want to make sure your spouse takes responsibility for paying off their pre-existing debts. 
  • You have amassed significant wealth or are expecting a large inheritance, and you want to make sure it does not end up commingled with marital assets.
  • You have a business that you want to protect from being taken over by your spouse-to-be.
  • You or your spouse are on your second, third, or even fourth marriage, particularly if either of you have children to support.
  • During your marriage, you may purchase or receive heirlooms from other family members that are used by both you and your spouse, and you want to make sure you retain them in a divorce or that these items are given to appropriate relatives in the event of your death.

Choose an Experienced Los Gatos Prenup Lawyer

Whether your financial situation is complicated or you have some fairly simple goals for protecting your assets, a Los Gatos, CA family law attorney with 40 years of experience can help you design an appropriate and customized prenuptial agreement. In order to ensure your prenup will hold up in court, certain legal requirements must be met, so it is important that you have the help of an attorney. At the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca, we put the well-being of your family first. We are trained in mediation and will organize the process so that it is relationship-building and not relationship-destroying. Contact us at 408-395-8822 for a free initial consultation.


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20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212
Los Gatos, CA 95030

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