Category Archives: Prenups

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements are back in the news.

What is a prenuptial agreement (or “prenup” for short)?

A prenup is an agreement  between prospective spouses that sets forth the parties’ property rights and financial responsibilities at marriage.  A prenup can address any number of issues including, but not limited to, how property is acquired (community or separate) and how the parties will control or otherwise manage their property.  Fam. Code § 1612(a).  Parties may not exclude the payment any potential child support.  Fam. Code § 1612(b).

But – isn’t that unromantic to discuss such things before we marry?  Having an honest discussion about finances before the wedding day may save parties from problems down the road.  In fact, if you don’t have a prenup, the state of California provides you one with its community property system.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Give yourself, your potential spouse, and your attorneys time to draft, review, and revise a prenup.  At a minimum – 7 days are required if a party is not represented.
  • It is encouraged to have both parties represented by independent counsel.

If you want to learn more about prenuptial agreements and terms to include, be sure to speak to an experienced family law attorney.


Engagement Rings – Mine, yours, the devil’s?

Engagement rings are in the news this week.  The Huffington Post reports on one gentleman’s attempt to sell a used ring.  That angry seller got his ring back – but is that always the case?

It depends.  Are the parties disagreeing about the ring before the marriage takes place or after the parties have married and are now getting divorced.

Before Marriage

If one person gives a ring to his intended betrothed (and women can give rings to men; and with same sex marriages men can give to men and women to women), and the wedding is called off, there is a law for that.  California Civil Code Section 1950 says that if the recipient calls off the wedding, the ring giver can get it back.

After Marriage

In dissolution (divorce) proceedings, the parties divide their community property, and each party keeps his own separate property.  A ring, received as a gift before marriage (and thus before there is a community), is likely to be considered the recipient’s separate property, because it was received prior to the date of marriage.  See Fam. Code Section 770(a)(1).  That is not to say the parties cannot negotiate for a different outcome.

If you have questions about rings or pre- or post- nuptial agreements or the division of community property, be sure to speak to a qualified family law attorney.