I help people come up with agreements about how they want to handle their relationship with respect to their property, income, and so forth, such as Pre-Nuptial Agreements, Marital (non-divorce) Agreements, Living Together Agreements, and Joint Ownership Agreements.
Although I do not believe that every couple contemplating marriage needs to have a written pre-nuptial agreement, I firmly believe that every couple needs to have the conversation about their financial relationship. Such a conversation should include an understanding of California’s community and separate property laws and how those laws would apply to their particular situation. I generally begin this conversation by asking my clients to describe their vision for their financial relationship – what they envision for themselves, their spouse, and their children with respect to their financial relationship as they create their future together.
Sometimes a married couple finds that, for one reason or another, they need to clarify their assumptions and understandings about their financial relationship and/or agree to changes that they want to make about it. Because of the nature of the marital relationship, the law imposes certain restrictions on how they can do it. It is important that they understand their financial rights and obligations with respect to their spouse and family.
Non-married couples (both heterosexual and same-gender) who live together also need to have the conversation about their financial relationship, and perhaps other aspects of their relationship as well. By the same token, non-romantic partners who own property together also need to make sure that they have common assumptions and understandings about how they will handle their respective rights and obligations with respect to their common interests. I help people think through the issues that have or may come up, and figure out how to solve them in a mutually agreeable way.