Top Myths About California Premarital Agreements

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Prenuptial agreements Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsOne of the most important things couples need to discuss before getting married is whether they should opt for a premarital or prenuptial agreement (prenup). Almost everyone around you will have some views or the other regarding prenups. Prenups have often been misunderstood and many believe that it means something bad, potentially encouraging or mentally preparing for a divorce before a couple is even married. Below is a list of prenup myths that have been debunked and you’ll find that the agreement is not as bad as it sounds.

Prenups are the reason for divorce

You must have often heard divorcees say that one of the reasons for their divorce was prenups. It is believed that prenups destroy a relationship because it indicates that the one making the agreement is interested in money more than anything else. Although true that prenups are used for protecting financial assets, it is also true that prenups help build a solid foundation for relationships. Couples should be aware of their individual financial standings and should discuss future financial plans with their partners.

Prenups are only used during failed marriages

Another myth regarding prenuptial agreements is that they can only be used when the relationship does not work out. Prenups are useful financial planning tools and help couples determine a good estate plan to save themselves from future financial damage.

Prenups are for gray couples

Contrary to popular belief, prenups are as much for younger couples as they are for older ones. As a matter of fact, young couples should make it a point to sign prenup agreements because it saves future assets for unfair divisions. Nobody knows how much wealth one will accrue over a period of time but it is important to protect financial assets nonetheless.

Prenups are expensive

Compared to your wedding costs, prenups are a bargain. Prenups are protection agreements and are only used when needed. It’s a one-time cost and very helpful in protecting finances.

Prenups are only for the rich

Since prenups are used to protect finances, many people have made it look like they are used only by rich individuals who feel their finances need to be protected. Although true to a certain extent, it is also true that prenups can be used by average earners too. Since prenups protect wealth accumulated during the marriage, it becomes helpful when an average person becomes rich later on in life.


Prenuptial agreements are full of myths and understand the reality should be a matter of priority for married couples. A prenup is a useful tool and can be used for a variety of purposes.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

The Effect of Prenuptial Agreements on Same-Sex Marriages

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Gay marriage and domestic partnership attorneys in Los Angeles Orange County California; California Divorce AttorneysEver since same-sex marriage was legalized in every state in the US, many questions have been asked related to the laws for same-sex marriage. Many same-sex couples have often raised the question of a prenuptial agreement and whether one should opt for it. A prenup is an agreement where individuals in a marriage have the right to declare a part of the entire asset as separate property. The other spouse has to agree to the arrangement too before it can be put into effect. A prenuptial agreement safeguards a person against unequal or unnecessary property division during divorce. It is an excellent tool for protecting oneself against financial damage. But what are its effects on the relationship and marriage?

Strengthens the marriage

Contrary to popular belief that prenups result in divorces, the agreement can actually be beneficial if both parties agree with each other. A relationship is based on trust, but that does not mean one should go through financial loss for that. Joint property may not be in your hands but the separate property is and it is your job to protect it. A prenup does not mean that property and finance are the most important thing in a marriage. It only means that both individuals should be aware other possesses. If anything, it makes the marriage more transparent.

It helps face reality

Unlike heterosexual couples, same-sex partners stay in a relationship for a longer time. Unlike the former, the latter finds it difficult to go into another relationship after the first ends. A prenup is a reality check as to what lies ahead. When couples are aware of what the future can be like, they become more dependent on their partner. It helps improve the marriage and allows both members to be more amicable towards each other.

A prenuptial agreement is not a bad thing as most people think it to be. It is a declaration of separate property in case a divorce takes place. It is important for same-sex couples because they stay in a relationship for a longer time than their heterosexual counterparts. When they understand what lies ahead of them, they try to keep the marriage going. A prenup is the best guard against financial damage and property loss. But for the same-sex couples, it is more than just a protection; it is a means of coming closer to each other and making the marriage work.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please click the following link to receive our free e-book, What is Divorce Mediation

Can You Mediate A Prenuptial Agreement?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Prenuptial agreements Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsPrenuptial agreements are a sensitive topic of discussion. A couple entering into marriage might not warm up to the idea in the beginning. Unfortunately, the growing number of failed marriages and ensuing ugly disputes makes such agreements all the more necessary. Once a couple has decided to sign a prenuptial agreement, the next task is to decide the division of assets. This can turn out to be unpleasant.

Ultimately, discussing a prenuptial agreement can lead to disputes between both the spouses. In such cases, mediation is an excellent way to reduce damages that can happen. Mediation is a form of conflict resolution used in law. A third party assists the spouses-to-be to come to a fair settlement. Such a person is called the mediator.

Mediation is possible

The first thing that a couple who has decided to move ahead with signing the prenuptial agreement should know is that successful mediation of the agreement is possible. Many couples are unaware of this fact. Mediation is an excellent way to resolve conflicts and it helps if the couples research about it by themselves or get the help of a competent attorney. 

Mediation starts with people 

It is important to sit with an experienced mediator to discuss the potential terms for an agreement first. Both parties need to keep in mind that they are getting married and while the terms in the agreement should be fair, it should also be decided upon mutual agreement and should be fair to both spouses.

Understand the law 

Different states have different laws pertaining to prenuptial agreements. The mediator should make sure both parties are aware of existing laws. Divorce and inheritance should not become an issue in case the unthinkable happens. Mediators should provide legal information as to what can happen if one spouse inherits property and what it possibly means for the other spouse. Mediators cannot provide legal advice since they are not attorneys per se. 

Understanding either spouse 

A mediator should communicate with both spouses to understand any concerns they might have regarding the agreement. It’s important to understand their views on the agreement. Often, it happens that one party may not want to sign the agreement but is afraid to be forthcoming about it. It is important to address the concerns of such an individual and allay their fears. Each term on the prenuptial agreement should be discussed fairly and accurately and should be reviewed against the other terms to make it fair to both parties.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Strange Prenups Can Form the Basis of Hollywood Marriages

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsBeing married in the glittering Hollywood is not the same thing as being married elsewhere. Apparently, celebrity spouses have more terms to agree with in the event of separation and divorce. Prenuptial agreements are a common phenomenon in Hollywood marriages, but they are not exactly romantic as they may seem. History shows that many Hollywood celebrities such as Johnny Depp, Britney Spears, and Angelina Jolie faced the most rancorous of divorces, but included prenuptial clauses in the agreement to add a different taste to their marriage.

Contrary to popular beliefs, the lawyers of these celebrities do not encourage the inclusion of pre-nups in their marriage contracts. Lawyers educate their clients on the consequences, both good and bad, of having pre-nups, and create an enforceable agreement that comes to play when they split up. Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom had a pre-nup arranged between them that was skewed pretty much in Khloe’s favour. The clause gave Khloe complete financial support from her spouse Lamar Odom, should they ever split up in the future. The arrangement mentioned that she would get $25,000 per month as financial support for half the time of their marriage, which ultimately lasted for over two years. She would also get $500,000 every year of the marriage, $6000 per month for her shopping, new car and house at the end of each lease.

This is one of the many cases where celebrities have entered into weird pre-nuptial agreements with their to-be ex spouses. However, the ugly side of such agreements is that some celebrities plan out their divorces before filing it in the court. High-profile couples do so either to minimize press coverage of the split or protecting their children from being affected by the divorce. Hollywood family lawyers have become adept in avoiding paparazzi, and they have clandestine telephonic conversations or arrange private meetings in their own or client’s house. Such agreements are often covered under the glitter of their high-profile lives.

Although pre-nups are not considered to be a romantic way to start a marriage, yet they can protect the inheritance rights of their children to some extent. Some celebrities believe that such arrangements provides more financial security because many give up their Hollywood career in order to give more time to their marriage. However, the bottom line is that pre-nups work favorably only if they are conducted in a cooperative and cordial atmosphere, which each of them contributing equally to uphold the sanctity of the relationship.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation.

Consider Mediation When Drawing Up Your Prenuptial Agreement

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsPrenuptial agreements are usually a fraught issue in most marriages. When a couple is in love, the last thing they want to think about after their engagement is their prenup, something that tends to ominously portend the end of the very relationship they are celebrating.

So, why get a prenup?

Getting a prenuptial agreement drawn up before marriage can actually help both parties enter the marriage with a crystal clear understanding of each other’s financial situation. Besides, there are many reasons why a prenuptial agreement might even be required. For instance, in the event of a second marriage that involves custody agreements or when one spouse is drawing income from a family trust or when both parties are involved in business together, and so on. In cases when a prenup is required, it might reduce tensions later in the marriage, as all financial obligations are laid out clearly at the very outset.

If it is sensible to get a prenup, why should we be worried?

Regardless of how sensible it might be to get a prenup, it does not change the fact that the process of drawing one up can be distressing and painful for couples. Involving a battalion of lawyers in the process, and getting mired in legal proceedings might only make matters more difficult. Even worse, lots of lawyer involvement in the drawing up of a prenuptial agreement can very quickly make it an unnecessarily complicated and difficult document that can leave one or both parties feeling powerless and distrustful of each other.

How can we get a prenup that does not cause problems?

Considering how fraught the process of drawing up a prenup can be, it only makes sense to seek out the easiest, and most open process for drawing one up. This is where mediation comes in. Mediation allows a couple to settle on and draw up a prenup with a mediator they trust, outside a courtroom and without unnecessarily convoluted legal proceedings.

Mediation brings the couples together to collaboratively communicate and come up with an equitable agreement after in-depth discussion. In this process, couples are able to understand exactly what the other person brings to the marriage, address any concerns they may have with a neutral party, the mediator, and tackle their problems together. Mediation can build trust amongst couples as it demonstrates how potential problems within the marriage can be handled amicably and effectively.

Where do we find a mediator?

Once you decide on mediation, for your prenup, choosing a mediator is the next step. More often than not, divorce mediators tend to be excellent at mediating prenups, and can offer valuable advice. At the conclusion of the process, the mediator, who will also be a lawyer, will draw up a mutually beneficial, and agreeable, prenuptial agreement.

Getting a prenuptial agreement might be the smartest, and most responsible thing that a couple can do before getting married to ensure that they protect each other. Do not let the process of drawing one up weaken your relationship. Find a mediator today to help you draw up your prenup.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Myths of Premarital Agreements

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsPrenuptial (premarital) agreements have become a tool that spouses and couples are increasingly using to shore up the finances and even up the post-marital distribution of assets to avoid any kind of issues after separation. Despite the emerging presence of prenuptial agreements, there continue to be a number of myths about prenuptial agreements.  Here is a list of some of these myths:

Prenups are just for wealthy people

That perception is based on the past. People believe that premarital agreements are for the wealthy couples. In reality that is not the case. Prenups are for anyone that has the slightest bit of confidence in their abilities and knows that they’ll reach a nice financial position in live. While you may not be rich, you’ll want to have successful marriage. Prenuptial agreements clearly lay down the financial status of the spouses leaving little to imagination and allowing for a open and honest relation.

Prenups favor the rich spouse more than the poor one

Once again this is a perception rooted in the past. Today, prenuptial agreements only exist when they are fair to both spouses and if they protect the interests of both. Unfair prenups that take the side of one party and unduly miserly on the other spouse will not hold any legal authority. Prenuptial agreements are used as a clear cut division of assets predetermined in the event of a divorce instead of a tool to save your assets and monetary belongings.

Prenups need to be extensive, detailed and should have all the details in the world

The fact of the matter is, that is not the case at all. Prenuptial agreements are designed to determine the post Orange County divorce status of some, many or all aspects of finances, etc. It is actually dependent on the two spouses making the agreement to determine what it would cover and what it shouldn’t. A prenuptial agreement needs not be extensive it can include even a few things.

Prenups are unromantic and can ruin a marriage

Knowing something is better than living in its ignorance. There are some people that believe a prenuptial agreement which is effectively a part of the planning for a divorce. This in reality is not the case; prenuptial agreements are not made simply in anticipation of a divorce. If anything they are created to make sure the two spouses are clear on the financial issues and avoid any bitterness in case they go through a divorce.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”

Same-Sex Prenuptial Agreements: Special Considerations?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsIn California, same-sex couples can benefit from all of the legal rights and protections that the state offers to married couples.  As a result, many same-sex couples in California believe that the creation of a prenuptial agreement involves generally the same issues and considerations as it would for any other couple.

But there are many critical reasons that same-sex couples – even those without children – should take the time to consult with a family law attorney before the marriage.  In a national context, married same-sex couples still face a number of legal complexities that other married couples do not face.  Carefully-drafted premarital agreements can help guard against those complexities.

Many U.S. states still do not recognize same-sex marriage.  And just one of those states, Missouri, recognizes same-sex marriages legally performed in other states*  (*as of the time that this article was written).  The other states that do not recognize same-sex marriage also refuse to recognize many of the legal rights of married same-sex couples, including the right to divorce.

Same-sex couples married in California may obtain a divorce from the California courts if they reside in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage.  But the enforcement of a prenuptial agreement for same-sex couples residing in those states can be problematic, especially if the enforceability of the agreement rests on the recognition of a marriage or a divorce.

Fortunately, this issue can be put to rest at the outset through an alternate method of drafting the premarital agreement.  The American Bar Association (ABA) recommends that the agreement be drafted as a contract that is enforceable regardless of whether the marriage is recognized or not. The result would be a contract recognized in all fifty states. This alternative way of drafting a prenuptial agreement should be discussed with a family law attorney experienced in addressing legal issues facing same-sex couples.

Same-sex couples who have children or who are planning a family should also consult an attorney prior to the marriage in order to understand how the family can be protected through provisions in the prenuptial agreement in case the family moves or travels extensively out-of-state.

Same-sex couples may also want to take the time to create additional legal protections before the marriage, beyond the prenuptial agreement.  The creation of a health care proxy may be especially important for same-sex couples, as the ABA also notes.  A married same-sex couple traveling to or residing in a state that does not recognize the marriage may face difficulties in a medical emergency – family visitation rights and decision-making rights may not be afforded to the spouse by hospital staff. A pre-existing health care proxy may help afford many of these rights.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”

Prenuptial Agreements Can Assist in Property Division in a Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top divorce mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsOne of the most difficult issues to deal with in any divorce proceeding is the division of martial property. Typically the biggest question is what is to happen with the house, a question that may trigger sparring matches between the divorcing couple.

Further complicating a sale may be the presence of a third party in the marriage break-up, which destroys what trust the divorcing couple may have had. The spouse who was cheated on may wish to make things difficult for the cheater. They may make it harder to show the property or withhold disclosure on any issues the house may have – such as structural or water issues. Even if a spouse has children and they want to retain the home, they may not be able to afford to maintain it.

Another point of contention may be overpricing the home in order to attain financial security and thus delaying a potential sale until the price of the property has been adjusted downwards.

In California, if the house is owned jointly, both signatures are required to sell the home. However, only one spouse needs to sign a listing agreement to put the house on the market. In a number of cases, the individual wanting a divorce wishes to get the property listed for sale quickly, to move on with their life or even buy another, smaller home. The person who did not want the divorce may be conflicted about selling, wishing to keep the home for the sake of any children involved. With two different points-of-view in play, things can get difficult and make it harder to get any offer accepted.

Couples with an existing prenuptial are likely to have an easier time with property division and the sale of the home, as most include instructions on how property is to be allocated, should the marriage dissolve. Nonetheless, one partner or the other may not wish to honor such an agreement because they are angry. In such cases, even a valid prenuptial may end up being challenged. However, if it is a solid document, the issue may be resolved according to the fact of the case.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”