The subject of Same Sex Marriages here in California has recently received new attention with last week's Supreme Court decision repealing Proposition 8. California will soon begin legally allowing same sex marriages.
This will likely cause many people to think about the need for a premarital agreement, also known as a “pre-nup”.
The most important usage of a premarital agreement is for two people who are getting married to be able to specify how they want their property to be characterized during the marriage and especially if the parties ever end up getting divorced. In this instance, a each of the parties can confirm that whatever property that they are entering the marriage with will remain their Separate Property and will not be subject to division under California's Community Property law. This will give the parties the assurance that should the marriage end in a divorce, the property that they had before the marriage will remain the property of that spouse.
One of the most important factors in the drafting of a premarital agreement is that California Law requires that each persons entry into the agreement be voluntary. Each person must be knowledgeable about the terms of the agreement and the full nature of the property that is being addressed in the agreement.
This requirement will mean that the following general conditions must be met by each party:
Each person must have their own independent legal counsel advising them of the agreement.
Each person had the opportunity to review the document for at least 7 calendar days before they signed the agreement.
Each party must make a full disclosure of all their assets and liabilities before the agreement is signed.
A new era of marriage is soon beginning in California. These new opportunities will also require new responsibilities. Many Californians will find that it would be in their best interest to consult an experienced Family Law attorney about their need for a premarital agreement.