Spring is coming up quickly, and for many couples, that means wedding time! For some of those couples, it means it’s also time to start preparing if you want to sign a San Diego prenuptial agreement (prenup for short). Here are four tips on how to best prepare for a prenup.
1. Have a conversation with your future spouse first
Before you start working on a prenup, it’s essential that you and your future spouse have a conversation about the prenup, what you might already agree to have in there, and what you might not agree on exactly on yet. This is important because although you don’t need to decide on everything before starting the prenup process, the more you both understand the other’s point of view, the easier the process will be. Nobody likes to be surprised by a prenup, and by having those crucial conversations early on, it ensures that everyone is on the same page, and there won’t be any surprises. If you find this conversation is awkward to have, then meeting with a therapist can be helpful to better flesh out why your future spouse might be hesitant.
2. Start early
Even if you’re not getting married for six months or a year, I believe you can never start the prenup process too early. That’s because it always seems to take longer than people think it will, and while I have certainly done prenups with couples in shorter periods, ideally, I prefer if a couple comes to me at least three months in advance of the wedding. This gives enough time not to feel rushed and for everything to be done long before the wedding, since signing your prenup is the last thing you want to worry about in the week leading up to your wedding. San Diego prenuptial agreements can take a few months to get drafted, reviewed and finalized. And in California, there must be seven (7) days between when the final agreement was received, and it is signed, and it must be signed before the wedding.
3. Find a mediator and/or attorney(s) who have experience with San Diego prenuptial agreements
There are two different ways that we recommend doing a prenup, one is mediating with a family law mediator who can work with you and your future spouse to determine what you guys want in your prenup. Then after everything has been agreed upon you and your future spouse would each have the agreement reviewed with an independent attorney. This process makes sure that both of you are involved in the conversation from the very beginning and the mediator works as a neutral third party to make sure that both people are able to be heard and express their interests. The other option is for both of you to hire your own attorneys from the beginning and one of your attorneys will draft the agreement based on what you tell them and then the other attorney will review and make edits/comments with the other person. This process is more common and can work well, however, since the initial draft is only coming from one person it can often leave the other person feeling hurt, mistrusted or upset with what the other person has put in it. No matter who you choose to work with though make sure that they are not only a family law mediator/attorney, but they also have experience drafting and reviewing prenups. Not all family law attorneys will draft prenups, and if they don’t usually do them, then they may not be able to represent your interest best. Very often someone will say to me, well I have a cousin or friend who’s an attorney, can they review it for me. And legally, yes, if they’re licensed in the state they can, however, I always recommend making sure they have dealt with prenups before. Additionally, no matter whether you choose to only work with attorneys or to start with a mediator, make sure you both have independent attorneys to work with.
4. Gather your financial information
As part of the prenup process, you and your spouse will need to make a full financial disclosure to the other person and include that information in attachments to the prenup. This consists of all of your assets, debts as well as your current income. This can also include any assets/debts that you might own with family or the beneficiary of a trust. This can sometimes take people time to gather so make sure that you work on finding all of the information. These disclosures are vital because each person needs to understand that the financial situation of the other before they agree to how these assets, debts, and income will be treated while they’re married. If one person does not make a full and accurate disclosure, then the prenup could potentially be thrown out later. For the income side, this is especially important if one or both of you might want to waive spousal support as part of the prenup.
If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss San Diego prenuptial agreements, call SDFMC at (858) 736-2411 today.