Prenuptial Agreements. Divorce can be chaotic, costly and unpredictable. With divorce rates skyrocketing in California, couples contemplating marriage often choose to enter into an agreement to determine their respective rights and responsibilities if and when the marriage ends. These agreements are called premarital agreements, also known as prenuptial agreements or “prenups.”
Premarital agreements are especially important for protecting the assets and income of high net worth individuals. Since premarital agreements can affect how property of married persons will be disposed of upon death, marrying individuals with children from a prior marriage may have an increased need for a premarital agreement.
Premarital agreements are designed to maximize a couple’s ability to negotiate and determine in advance the financial consequences of their marriage, both during the marriage and in the event of death or divorce. Premarital agreements allow individuals to take control over their own financial futures rather than allowing the default laws control or allowing an unpredictable court system determine their futures.
While California law specifically allows for premarital agreements, there are many challenges that can result in a premarital agreement being wholly or partially invalidated. The law surrounding premarital agreements is complex and continually evolving. In order to ensure that a premarital agreement will withstand a future objection, it is critical for the drafting attorney to be knowledgeable of the most recent developments in California law. Ms. Meinhardt is experienced in drafting premarital agreements that will achieve the client’s goals while simultaneously standing up to future challenge.
It is important that premarital agreements be negotiated, finalized and signed as far in advance as possible before a wedding. Anyone who is getting married and considering a premarital agreement should contact a family law attorney at the earliest opportunity.
Postnuptial Agreements. Not every contingency can be anticipated before marriage, and sometimes spouses wish to enter into a financial agreement after marriage, also known as a postnuptial agreement. Postnuptial agreements have special requirements, and generally are harder to defend than premarital agreements because married persons have special fiduciary duties to each other. Ms. Meinhardt possesses the requisite knowledge to counsel a married client contemplating entering into a postnuptial agreement.
Cohabitation Agreements. Today, many couples choose to live together instead of getting married. Many people do not realize that they can acquire financial obligations simply due to their cohabitation. For this reason, particularly when at least one of the persons has a high net worth, it is prudent to enter into a written agreement that defines the financial terms of the relationship while eliminating the possibility of any unintended financial consequences. Such agreements are known as “cohabitation agreements” and minimize the risks and uncertainty that can result if the relationship ends. Ms. Meinhardt is skilled and experienced in the preparation and negotiation of cohabitation agreements.