Getting Married Without A Prenuptial Contract in California
May Be One Of The Biggest Risks You Ever Take
In Your Life
Have you ever noticed that when your fiance/ee argues with you they are a different person? Get used to that, because if some issue comes between the two of you, that will be all you ever get. It’s not that people are bad, it’s that people are human. When people are on the defense, they change.
On the other hand, when you are in a divorce without a prenuptial agreement, you have two rivals, your soon-soon-to-be ex-spouse and his or her lawyers. They will do their job. Their job is to get the most out of you, if you are the income earner. They may put a lien on the family house to pay their legal bills; you may be forced to sell it if you cannot afford to pay them. Remember, if the income-earning person is you, then you will have to pay not only your legal bills but your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s. If you think for a second that litigation is inexpensive, we were recently involved in a case where the income earner had several other lawyers who did not properly represent her with respect to child visitation and child custody; two issues. Fixing the problems and getting the case on track cost $140,000. If you have real estate and other issues, the costs could be phenomenal. If the other side knows you have assets, this can get out of control in ways you cannot imagine.
On the other hand, a prenup does not mean you cannot be generous. You can take care of your spouse, support him or her, and it will not be held against you. You can leave them in your will or trust. You can provide the person with a life she or he is not accustomed to and when you divorce you do not have to meet that level. You can feel free to spoil the person in the relationship and it does not mean he or she can force you to do that when you are divorced.
Last but not least, a prenuptial agreement does not take effect unless there is a divorce. You can have a very happy life and leave assets for your spouse when you prepare your will or trust. Now that things are great, put it in place. This is not a sales pitch, this is a reality check. If it is not clear yet, think about this: why do divorce lawyers love it when there is no prenup in place? Ask yourself, then call us, (619) 793-4827.
Why Do I Need A Lawyer When I Can Create My Own Form Prenup?
This question is easy. You do not need to be a lawyer to create a prenup. The tricky part, though, is that you don’t know what you don’t know. We, for example, create three types of prenups. The difference is in what we address. There are multiple issues that a prenup addresses that you may not be familiar with, even if you are a lawyer, especially if this is not your area of law. If you don’t know something, it may cost you dearly. A simple example may assist. Let’s say you created a form prenup and it covers the basics such as no alimony, what you inherit, earn, or are gifted are yours. What if you own a house and your spouse helped you paint it. You now sell the house and make a handsome profit. Do you realize that your spouse can state because he or she painted it that they added value and deserve some of the sales price? If you did not cover something in a prenup, you deal with it in court. Even if you win, it will cost you far more than what it would cost to have it done right in the first place, 10 to 20 times more. This is just one example, there are many more. This is the reason even lawyers contact us when they require help with prenups.
Why A Prenuptial Agreement?
For those who have not researched San Diego Biz Law APC, lead attorney Stefano Riznyk is probably best known for his skills as a high-level negotiator, an area in which he trains other attorneys nationwide.
He has dealt with many complex cases for political figures, Fortune 500 presidents, producers, actors, federal agents, and persons of that caliber. As a negotiator who has spent a lifetime learning human behavior, he understands the complexity of human relationships. As much as he is a great believer in people, he also has first-hand witnessed the damage that has been wrought by divorcing persons who are influenced by family, friends, and their counsel. Marrying in California without a prenup is one of the most expensive and devastating mistakes someone can make. On the other hand, the person with more assets does not have to leave the other spouse with nothing. There are ways of doing things that are not disrespectful and will not make it difficult to get that document signed.
Once a Divorce Lawyer is Hired…
An example of What $140,000 in Family Court Buys You
When your spouse seeks divorce and hires a lawyer, that attorney will work to best represent their client. As a result, they will propose a number of ideas and strategies to your soon-to-be ex-spouse, and then it is no longer the same case it could have been. What’s worse, if your spouse is low on funds, then you will be the one paying for their lawyer to go after you, and in the world of litigation, $100,000 is just not that much money, especially in a contested divorce case when assets are involved; your house could end up being sold just to cover the opposing attorney’s fees.
Would you like an example?: Two years ago, a friend of Mr. Riznyk had discovered that she was in a solid mess because of what her ex-husband was seeking and what her previous three law firms had done to her case. As she was low on funding as a result of this, we stepped in and helped her out pro bono. This case only required help in two areas: child custody and child support. We did not think it would require much time, as those are not complex issues.
Would you be surprised to know it took $140,000 in legal hours to try to resolve just those two issues? Never underestimate what your spouse will state to win, what their lawyer will file, or how many times they will file motions that will drive up your legal costs. What if there are more issues involved, such as material assets, retirement accounts, and other issues, such as comingling? Feel free to spend an afternoon in any family court and your eyes will be open to what a frightening world that can be. Not only will it drain you of your assets, but also the real estate in your mind- you will discover that you will be thinking about the case more times a day than you wish. We have seen amongst our friends how devastating it can be….moving out of a 5-bedroom home with a family to a one-bedroom cheap apartment alone with only limited visitation to a child. This is a real story.
Prenups Simply Stated
Let’s assume you worked hard; had children; acquired some material assets, such as real estate, vehicles, a brokerage account, and a retirement account; and then even commingled (i.e., mixed personal and marriage) assets. Now, you have a divorce, and you have to pay two sets of lawyers (safely, at $500 an hour or more, if they’re good) – what will you have left? Child support is not something you can escape with a prenup- someone we know receives $10,000 a month in child support in addition to alimony and the marital house. The husband will have to work until he’s 80 just to pay the child support.
California Prenups are controlled by the UPAA (Uniform Premarital Agreement Act).
Doesn’t A Prenup Make A Negative Statement?
A prenup does not make a negative statement. A prenup is an insurance policy for a rainy day. You can also remind your spouse that if things don’t work out, the prenup will save them the headache of divorce court. Even if the spouse is not paying for it, he or she will not enjoy this skin-tearing, ruthless event. Divorce court is no fun for either party. Additionally, a prenup allows you the benefit of being more generous with your spouse.
A Prenup Is Not A Weapon
We would prefer to know that you use the prenup as a way of liberating yourself. You can now spoil your spouse, you can comingle your assets, you can spoil him or her at your heart’s content and know that these things will not be held against you later on by some lawyer locking eyes with you as if you were a criminal. Know that once you are protected, it is easier to be free. A great relationship is hard to find, so go ahead and spoil your person, have fun and treat them as if it will take you five years to find the next great relationship.
Honor the relationship for how lovely and valuable it is, and you will find that not only will you never have to open up that prenuptial, but you may even make that spouse your heir.