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How a prenuptial agreement may affect a future divorce

Right before a wedding is not when an engaged couple wants to think about how the partners will work out their differences in the event that their marriage ends in divorce. However, many California residents engage in just these sorts of considerations when they draft and execute prenuptial agreements. A prenuptial agreement is a contract that two people create to work out matters related to their wealth and property prior to entering into a marriage.

In general, a prenuptial agreement cannot settle matters related to the couple's existing or future kids. It cannot set child support amounts and responsibilities, and it cannot establish custody and visitation schedules. It can protect the parties' pre-marriage wealth and preserve their individual ownership in assets that they held separate and apart from their spouse.

A prenuptial agreement can establish an alimony responsibility or may dictate what a spouse will give to the other in the event their union ends. Prenups can also work out how financial and other responsibilities will be managed during the couple's marriage. Prenuptial agreements can help couples come to understandings about how they will use their money and how they will later divide it if they choose divorce.

Not all couples execute prenuptial agreements; therefore, they are not relevant to all divorces. However, the presence of a valid and executed prenuptial agreement may influence how property division and spousal support matters resolve in a California divorce. For individuals who entered into prenups with their spouses prior to marrying, it is important to review those agreements with family law attorneys to understand how they may affect their possible divorces.

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