Premarital agreements 101: A Prenup Primer

From asset protection to peace of mind, here's everything you need to know about prenups.


Congratulations on your decision to tie the knot! As you embark on this exciting journey, it’s essential to consider all aspects of your future together, including legal matters. One crucial document that often gets overlooked but can be incredibly valuable is the prenuptial agreement, commonly referred to as a prenup. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive primer on prenups, covering everything you need to know before saying, "I do."

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract entered into by two individuals before they get married. Its primary purpose is to outline the rights and responsibilities of each party concerning assets, debts, and other financial matters in the event of divorce or death. Think of it as a roadmap for how property will be allocated and divided if the marriage ends.

Why Consider a Prenup?

While it may not be the most romantic topic, discussing a prenup can provide several benefits:

  • Asset Protection: A prenup allows you to protect assets you bring into the marriage, such as property, investments, or business interests, ensuring they remain yours in the event of a divorce.
  • Debt Protection: It can also protect you from assuming responsibility for your spouse's pre-existing debts, shielding your finances from potential liabilities.
  • Clarity and Transparency: By openly discussing financial matters before marriage, a prenup promotes transparency and can help prevent misunderstandings or disputes down the road.
  • Peace of Mind: Having a prenup in place can provide peace of mind, knowing that your financial interests are safeguarded, allowing you to focus on building a strong and healthy relationship.

What Can and Cannot Be Included in a Prenup?

While prenups offer considerable flexibility, there are limitations on what can be included:

Can Include:

  • Division of assets and liabilities
  • Spousal support/alimony terms
  • Property rights and ownership
  • Financial responsibilities during the marriage

Cannot Include:

  • Child custody and support arrangements (decided by the court based on the child's best interests)
  • Illegal or unethical provisions
  • Personal matters unrelated to finances (e.g., household chores)

How to Create a Prenup

Creating a prenup involves several steps:

  • Open Communication: Start by having an open and honest conversation with your partner about why you want a prenup and what you hope to accomplish.
  • Full Disclosure: Both parties must fully disclose all assets, debts, and financial information to ensure the agreement is fair and enforceable.
  • Consult Legal Professionals: It’s crucial to seek independent legal advice from experienced attorneys specializing in family law. They can help draft a customized agreement that meets your needs and complies with California laws. At First, we have experienced lawyers who take the time to review your draft agreement with you and educate you on the most important parts.
  • Review and Revise: Take the time to review the draft agreement carefully and make any necessary revisions. Ensure that both parties fully understand the terms before signing.
  • Signing: Once finalized, the prenup must be signed by both parties to be legally binding.

When to Get a Prenup

Ideally, couples should discuss and draft a prenup well in advance of their wedding date. Starting the process early allows ample time for thoughtful consideration, negotiation, and any revisions that may be necessary.


In conclusion, a prenuptial agreement can be a valuable tool for protecting your financial interests and promoting peace of mind as you enter into marriage. By understanding the basics of prenups and taking proactive steps to create a comprehensive agreement, you can set a solid foundation for your future together. Remember, while discussing a prenup may seem daunting, it ultimately demonstrates a commitment to open communication, trust, and mutual respect in your relationship.

If you’re considering a prenup and want expert guidance every step of the way, consider reaching out to First ( Our team of legal professionals specializes in digital prenuptial agreements tailored to the unique needs of couples in California. Start your journey toward a secure and prosperous future together with First by your side.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a prenup necessary for every couple, or are there specific circumstances where it's more important? Prenuptial agreements aren't mandatory for every couple, but they can be particularly beneficial in specific situations. For instance, if one or both parties have substantial assets, own a business, or have children from previous relationships, a prenup can offer clarity and protection for those assets and interests. Ultimately, the decision to get a prenup depends on each couple's unique circumstances and preferences.

Can a prenup be modified or revoked after marriage? Yes, a prenup can be modified or revoked post-marriage, but the process varies based on state laws and the terms outlined in the agreement. In California, for example, a prenup can be amended or revoked through a written agreement signed by both parties. It's crucial to consult with a qualified attorney to understand the legal requirements and implications of modifying or revoking a prenup.

What happens if a couple divorces without a prenup? Without a prenup, divorcing couples in California would typically be subject to the state's community property laws. These laws generally stipulate that assets and debts acquired during the marriage are divided equally between the spouses. However, this may not always align with each party's preferences or expectations, making a prenup a valuable tool for establishing personalized terms for asset division, spousal support, and other financial matters.