For an individual about to get married in California, the chance to discuss important issues with a future spouse could prevent severe financial disruptions if the relationship does not work out. The creation of contract terms before a marriage allows a person to designate non-marital personal assets. Such assets could include a stake in a business, an inheritance or retirement savings. Outlining the terms of spousal support could also be important, especially if the two parties have substantially different financial statuses.
A prenuptial agreement defines most of a potential divorce settlement ahead of time and potentially prevents a judge from deciding the matter. The agreement can establish how assets will be divided and separate non-marital assets from the union. Amounts of spousal support could be defined or eliminated altogether. The distribution of an estate to heirs other than a spouse could also be determined.
When couples go through a divorce without a prenuptial agreement, they generally must decide the terms at a time when they could be hostile toward each other. If they cannot agree, then a family court will apply the law in a manner deemed equitable by the judge.
Even if a couple does have a prenuptial agreement, the services of an attorney might be needed at the time of a divorce. A person could ask the attorney to describe how the separation agreement could be enforced and also gain advice about issues such as child custody. Documents for the divorce settlement could also be written by the attorney.