Prenuptial agreements have traditionally been viewed as an unromantic and unemotional approach to a marriage. However, with half the marriages ending in a divorce, and equally giving rising to second marriages, this negative view on prenup agreements is undergoing a change. California family law has dealt with this aspect in a very balanced manner so that either side does not get disadvantaged in the event of a divorce.
Increasing Endorsement of the California Family Law
Many people viewed the California family law with an apprehension that it was designed to favor the rich and the famous in the situation of a divorce. However, over the years there has been an increasing acceptance of the intent and spirit behind the law which took a very pragmatic view of marriage. More people in California and elsewhere are now willing to accept prenuptial agreements as a necessity, and not as a nuisance.
Women have particularly become more receptive towards the idea and are asking for a prenup to be put into place. Family law attorneys in California try to convince their clients that a prenup is pretty much estate planning. When you make a will, you are taking a pragmatic view of life and not leaving any scope for dispute among your heirs after your death. Prenups must be viewed in the same spirit of practicality.
Divorce Law in California
California divorce laws are slightly different than most other states. Under Section 4336 of the California Family Law, a marital relationship that has continued for 10 years or more is deemed as a “long term” marriage. This usually means under the law that the spouse with a higher income may have to pay alimony for an indefinite period of time.
On the other hand, if the marriage lasted for less than 10 years, the spouse with the higher income will have to pay spousal support only for half the period the marriage lasted. However, division of common properties and assets, child custody and child visitation are issues that are treated separately from alimony.
Prenuptial Agreement Procedure in California
There are stringent requirements for the drafting and execution of prenuptial agreements under the California family law. It is advisable to hire a lawyer specializing in family law who can draft the agreement in consultation with one or both the parties.
Waivers and advisements must be drafted for both parties before the signing of the agreement. The agreement must then be duly executed and notarized. Due care must be taken to secure and store the agreement at a proper place.
A well drafted premarital agreement substantially reduces the chances for costly litigation and prolonged physical, mental and financial suffering in the event of a divorce. It enables both parties to understand with a fair amount of certainty regarding the division of assets and liabilities in case the marriage ends unsuccessfully at any point of time in the future.
In a nutshell, California Family Law gives you a choice between a set of rules pre-decided by you for yourself and a set of complicated divorce laws imposed by the state upon you. The choice is yours to make.