A common misconception about prenuptial agreements is that they are just for the rich. Prenuptial agreements are an important legal tool that can help couples entering a marriage protect property rights and interests. The benefits of prenuptial agreements should be understand by any couple before they walk down the aisle.

Prenuptial agreements have a variety of benefits to consider including protecting the assets of the parties; protecting each of the future spouses from the debts of the other; clarifying financial rights and responsibilities during the marriage; determining how property will be passed if one spouse dies; and avoiding long and costly property disputes in the event the couple does decide to divorce at some point.

Without the benefit of a prenuptial agreement, property will be divided if the couple divorces according to California’s state property division laws. California is a community property state which means that marital property is divided in half if the couple decides to divorce. A prenuptial agreement gives the couple more say over how they want property divided should they decide to divorce. These can include disclosure requirements, reasonable time before the wedding to review the contents of any prenuptial agreement before signing and time to consult separate counsel.

There are different requirements for a prenuptial agreement to be considered valid in California so it is helpful for couples considering one for themselves to be familiar with what those requirements are and ensure theirs meets all state law requirements. Because of the benefits prenuptial agreements can provide, it is worth the time of couples contemplating marriage to understand how a prenuptial agreement may benefit them.