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Some people think that getting a prenuptial agreement is saying, “We’re planning to get a divorce even before we get married.”  A prenuptial or premarital agreement does not mean that you are destined to get a divorce.  These are instead conversations every couple should have before they tie the knot.  We all want to believe that when we get married that we’ll stay married forever.  Statistically, that doesn’t happen.

Recently the famous model, Paulina Porizkova, who was married to Ric Ocasek from the band The Cars, said in an interview, that the biggest mistake of her life was not getting a prenup.  Porizkova issued a stark warning to other women, saying her love for Ocasek “eclipsed [her] financial thinking.”  Porizkova and her husband were married for 28 years before they separated in 2018, and the Rockstar died the following year, leaving Porizkova entirely out of his will.  Warning other women to not make the same mistake she did, Porizkova admitted, “I was incredibly naïve.”

It’s a tough lesson to learn, and one that you don’t need to learn, especially if you can reach a genuine understanding with your partner that you’re entering into a prenup to protect some of your interests and/or if you have your own children from a prior marriage.

Prenups Help to Characterize Property – Yours, Mine, Ours

A prenup will help you to identify the property, whether it is separate or community and how you are going to divide it.  For example, if you have a 401(k) that you had before marriage, that 401(k) could be your separate property.  However, any interest that is gained during the marriage becomes community property, unless you have a prenup stating otherwise.  A prenup allows you to have a greater level of control than you could have otherwise.

Get a Prenup Sooner Rather Than Later…

As soon as you start to consider getting married, you should start thinking about a prenup and what assets to protect.  It is important to begin researching attorneys and find someone that you feel comfortable with to help represent your interests.  In turn, talk with your soon-to-be spouse and explain how a prenuptial agreement could benefit both of you.  It is important to make sure that you are on the same page so that there are not any hard feelings.  It is also important to have that conversation soon after your get engaged so it does not come as a surprise or a threat right before the wedding.  Make sure there’s plenty of transparency as to when that occurs as well.

…But If You’re Already Married.

It’s never too late to discuss assets with your spouse, because you can always do something called a postnuptial agreement.  The postnuptial is taking what is now community property and stating that it’s going to be separate property.  The sooner you start thinking about these things and talking about it the better, but if you’re already married and would like to do a postnuptial, that can be done.

We Are Here to Help

If you have questions about prenuptial or post nuptial agreements, or you are ready to begin the process, please contact Julia Bancroft P.C., Family Law.