Identifying Asset Management and Ownership Rights Before Marriage

Before you sign your marriage license in California, there is another contract that you and your spouse may want to consider signing. A premarital agreement is a solid way to jumpstart your financial future with your spouse. At Daprile-Bell Family Law Offices, we help many of our clients to create legal documents that protect their finances and their future.

California is a community property state, so any property that you acquire during your marriage will be subject to equal division in a divorce unless your premarital agreement states otherwise. The California Family Code lays out in detail exactly what you and your spouse can include in your premarital agreement:

  • What rights and obligations you and your spouse have regarding any assets that either or both of you acquire before or during your marriage
  • Who has the right to manage or control property, including activities such as buying, selling, transferring, using, exchanging, leasing or mortgaging the property
  • How property will be transferred upon divorce, death or another event
  • Who has the ownership rights of a life insurance policy death benefit

You cannot include anything in your agreement that would affect child support, and the document also cannot include any provisions that the court may consider unconscionable. For example, if the waiving of spousal support would cause one spouse to maintain his or her wealth while the other became dependent on public assistance, the judge would probably rule that provision invalid.

Before you sign, keep in mind that you and your spouse must each have your own attorney if you are going to include a provision involving spousal support. More information about the benefits and parameters of a prenuptial agreement is available on our webpage.

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"Cheri Bell has represented me on and off for 15 years, through a divorce and child custody agreement, I have always been very impressed with her high level of integrity. She and her staff have always been very accessible, even when I moved out of the country. Her attention to details, and undeniable commitment to straightforwardness and honesty, have had a very positive effect on our court hearings, and provided time and again the desired." V.C.
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