Premarital / Cohabitation Agreements

Premarital - Prenuptial Agreements

Planning a wedding and considering a premarital agreement? But concerned that thinking about divorce before you even get married isn’t a good idea?

If so, consider switching the frame of reference. A premarital agreement, rather than advance planning for divorce and a source of conflict even before the wedding, can be a great opportunity to have a meaningful and constructive dialogue with your future spouse about the role of money in your life - your hopes and dreams for your financial future, where and how to spend your money, where and how to save your money, and much more. Particularly, if this is a second marriage, or if one or both has children, substantial separate property or business interests, this conversation can help you both clarify and understand what is important to each other in all of these financial matters. You may also wish to discuss and address the possibility of death and how to bequeath your separate or community property.

A Collaborative or mediated approach to crafting a premarital agreement allows you and your intended to work together to craft an agreement that meets the needs of both and honors your relationship and mutual understandings.

Cohabitation Agreements

California Family Law does not recognize “common law” marriage. Consequently, the legal rights and responsibilities are vague and unclear for unmarried couples who live together, and this often adds to the pain and turmoil if the relationship ends. A Cohabitation Agreement to clarify the rights and responsibilities is highly recommended. Addressing the issues in a Cohabitation Agreement provides an opportunity to have an honest and meaningful conversation about your mutual hopes and dreams for the future of your relationship while clarifying your arrangements and agreements.

Domestic Partnerships and Same Sex Couples

California law continues to change and evolve with respect to gay marriage, civil unions/partnerships and in addition, California and federal law are out of sync with each other. Therefore, it is important for same sex couples to craft their own agreements to define the terms of their family relationship.

How We Can Help

Respectful and thoughtful approaches such as Collaborative Law or Mediation can help couples in all of these areas reach agreements that honor their relationship and commitment and are crafted to meet the needs of their unique family and circumstances. In addition, the process and the dialogue can foster respectful and effective problem solving that will help resolve issues throughout your relationship.

For a consultation about your premarital/prenuptial, cohabitation or domestic partnership agreement, contact Lorna Jaynes at 510-795-6304.