Cynics may contend prenuptial agreements treat marriage purely as a transaction. More practical observers would recognize a prenuptial agreement as an acknowledgment people and circumstances do not remain static. A “prenup” contractually binds each party to various terms negotiated, ideally, with an attorney and full disclosure to the other.
Divorce, for example, requires parties to address spousal support and child custody. Death triggers inheritance rights, which vary significantly by state. These circumstances converge with each party’s financial status, personal and professional expectations and prior marriage history enter in the analysis of whether to craft a prenup.
Property distribution represents an area of domestic relations, arguably, that can have the most significant difference among states.
Marital assets matter whether you live or will live in California
A community property state, California distributes martial assets equally absent an express agreement, usually through a prenuptial or postnuptial. The legal concept can impact any married couple, but it directly affects couples who relocate during the marriage. The Golden State’s population diminished between July 2019 and June 2020. More than 21,000 people moved here during that time, however.
Choice of law provisions included in a fairly executed prenuptial agreement can dictate what jurisdiction’s substantive law a court will employ under a contract. In California, courts will apply the law of the selected jurisdiction that addresses a party’s substantive rights, meaning the scope of rights agreed to under the agreement. Without an explicit selection, however, California law will apply.
Marriage sustainability in California, relative to the rest of the nation, remains above average. Despite that, the benefits of marriage do not guarantee permanent bliss. A well-crafted prenuptial agreement may never need to have its provisions enforced – but if called upon, the parties can feel confident their pre-determined rights will be protected.