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PRENUPS: WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER ONE

Updated: May 30



Before I begin, I know I'm going to get FLAK for this blog.


But that’s alright, as an attorney, getting flak comes with the job, and I'm good with that.


Because at the end of the day, if some of you walk away from this blog a little more informed about PRENUPS, how they work, the likelihood you’ll ever need one, and whether they’re the right fit for you, well then I've done my job, and for me, that is the reward.


Let me start by addressing the elephant in the room. YES, I understand that by questioning the viability of marriage I am stepping into the lions den, and as a result, I stand a pretty good chance of being mauled to death. No pun intended, actually, YES PUN INTENDED.


But TRUTH be told, that’s a trauma I’m willing to endure, if it means I can save just one person from the abject misery, and bitter sweet death, of a hotly contested divorce.


Dramatic? A little bit, but true, ABSOLUTELY.


Now with that, LET'S DIVE IN.



THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE


Whatever your VIEW on marriage is, one thing I think we can all agree on is, it's here to STAY.


Since the beginning of time, our forefathers, and by forefathers, I don't mean those silly men with wigs and lady's stockings, but our real forefathers. The MIGHTY CAVEMAN.


Since our forefathers first roamed this earth, one thing has been blatantly clear, "ME NO LIKE BEING ALONE," has been the motto, and the practice of many of our brethren.


And why not, being alone sucks, and sharing your life with someone, means something.


But does all this warm fuzziness somehow negate the GLARING reality that noting lasts forever, and that divorce is as common as strawberry strudel to the Midwest , of course not.


So with that little rain on your parade excerpt let’s look at some harrowing statistics, shall we.


THE DIVORCE RATE ACROSS THE U.S.A


35-50% of marriages across the U.S. end in divorce. This percentage spikes for second marriages, plus these statistics don’t even include couples that permanently separate but fail to actually file for divorce. I imagine there's a good chunk of them out there.


As it turns out, the old familiar saying, “It’s cheaper to stay married then get divorced,” actually has merit.


In California, the divorce rate is around 60%., and if this doesn’t give you pause, then honestly I don’t know what will. Think about it. Six out of ten marriages in CA end in divorce.


Let’s put this in PERSPECTIVE and apply it to some glum examples shall we.


Pretend for a second instead of divorce we're talking about jumping out of a plane. Now imagine, moments before you are about to jump, the pilot tells you there's only a 40% chance your parachute is going to open on the way down. What do you do, do you still jump?


OR imagine you're going under the knife, then all of a sudden, right before the anesthesia kicks in and the lights go out, your surgeon whispers in your ear that there’s only a 40% chance your ass is waking up. Can you imagine the horror you would experience for those one or two seconds before you feel asleep; the not knowing; death, knocking on your door.


I think its fair to say that most of us would pull the plug (no pun intended) on the jump slash surgery. I mean, you would have to have a death wish to say otherwise, right?


NOW HOW DOES THIS TIE INTO MARRIAGE, DIVORCE, AND PRENUPS?


It doesn't, kidding, it all comes down to preparation, preparation, preparation.


How you prepare today, will invariably effect, what happens tomorrow.



PRENUPS ARE MARRIAGES

FULL COVERAGE INSURANCE


Everyone who buys a new car understands the importance of full coverage auto insurance.


Now is this because we’re all terrible drivers and sadistically like to play demolition derby in Walmart parking lots?


Of course not.


But like everything else in LIFE, other than death and taxes, nothing is absolute.


There will always be something that we don't anticipate happening, that ends up happening.


So what do we do?

How do we even the playing field?


PREPARE. PREPARE. PREPARE.


But how Ruben?


Simple, PRENUPS.


PRENUPS are like full coverage car insurance.


You have it in case something really bad happens, like a total loss, or irreconcilable differences.


Let's face it, if your marriage is in the tanker, you're probably going to file for divorce, and divorce folks, isn't like going to Disneyland, it's costly (well I guess Disneyland is too), it gets ugly, and for some, it can be hell on earth.


Get the full coverage marriage insurance aka "The Prenup," because as a wise man once said, and by wise man I mean me,


"It's better to have one and not need it, then need one, and not have it."


NOTHING LASTS FOREVER


"Relationships are a fickle beast, one day they are as strong and as hot as the sun,

the next, as cold and distant as the moon."


This blog isn’t about sugarcoating the reality of marriage in 2024. We all know the hardships marriages endure now with the advent of the internet, social media, tinder, sugar free ice cream, well maybe not sugar free ice cream, but you get the point.


Relationships, marriages in particular, are just not what they used to be 50, 60, 70 years ago.


Some are, most aren’t. But does that mean you should lock yourself in a dark room?


NO WAY JOSE!


Listen, I'm not trying to put marriage or the institution of marriage in a REAR NAKED CHOKE HOLD. If I was, this blog would read a lot differently.


Me promoting Prenups is not the same as me advocating for divorce. These concepts are fundamentally different, and I want to be clear, I'm only championing the former.



CALIFORNIA IS A COMMUNITY PROPERTY STATE.


If you’re married and live in the Golden State, then you’re subject to community property law.


Which means what exactly? It means all the property acquired during marriage is 50% the husbands’ and 50% the wife’s’. Simple, right.


Further it doesn’t matter which spouse is the highest income earner or frankly whether one spouse works at all, absent an agreement (i.e. Prenup) and in the event of a divorce, the court is splitting every asset (personal property and real property) down the middle.


Maybe not literally, after all it’s hard to split a house down the middle, but value and interest wise, meaning whomever gets the house is going to have to give up their interest in other property in order to compensate the non-house receiving spouse, you get the idea.


But what about property you acquired prior to the marriage or property you inherited from you favorite Uncle Tom?


SEPARATE PROPERTY CAN CHANGE

CHARACTER AND BECOME COMMUNITY PROPERTY


Separate Property only remains separate if it remains truly separate (how’s that for liberally using the word separate).


Gosh Ruben, what on earth do you mean or as my wife likes to say, “Are you talking in Riddles.”


So pretend you own a home prior to marriage or you receive an inheritance during marriage. This is your separate property right? The short answer is yes.


But can that change? You betcha!


I’m not going to break things down to a mathematical formula. It suffices to say that when you commingle that quote-on-quote separate property, overtime, the community will gain an interest in that property and that folks is when things can get MESSY.


So what should you do?


PRENUP PRENUP PRENUP


MARRIAGE IS A CONTRACT, PRENUP IS A CONTRACT.


We live in a world of contracts, marriage is a contract, a prenup is a contract.


The difference is, a marriage contract in and in itself is not going to do you any favors in a divorce proceeding. If anything, not having a dissolution plan (i.e. a prenup) is going to cost you money, and time, which in turn, means more money.


A PRENUP on the other hand can and will do you a HUGE FAVOR! How?


ESSENCE OF A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT


The function of a prenup is to distribute both marital and non-martial property according to yours and your spouses wishes in the event things don't pan out. Not your neighbors wishes, not my wishes, and certainly, not the court’s wishes.


Simply stated, a prenup takes the emotion out of the equation, which in turn, is bad for divorce attorneys but good for you and your ex-spouse.

THINK OF AS A MASSIVE SAVINGS WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO FILING FOR DIVORCE.


Hence, when you throw a prenup into the mix, there’s no need for a hotly contested divorce.


Why? Because nonone is fighting for this and that; the this and that has already been decided by you and your spouse, via the PRENUP. Crazy, right? But true, absolutely.



In Closing


It's 2024 guys, it's okay to talk about a prenuptial agreement.


I promise you, the mere mention of it, is not going to result in a fiery sentence of eternal damnation, no matter how much some people, or institutions, might argue otherwise.


Ultimately this is a decision for you and your partner. I'm just the humble messenger, and if you leave this blog knowing a little more about prenups and why you should at the very least consider them, well then folks, I did my job. Till next time my starry eyed legalites.


Till next time,



RJM LAWYER

























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