Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

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malenurse
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Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by malenurse » Fri Aug 19, 2016 2:52 pm

I'm wondering if anyone out there has experience drafting their own prenuptial agreement in CA (or any state, really). My Fiancée and I learned the other day that it would cost us $3,000.00 for a lawyer to take care of this service for us. Through my workplace, I have access to this employee health webpage that has a fancy application that assists you in drafting your own prenup. The application asks you questions relative to the prenup criteria and then, based on your answers, it formulates the content of the prenup in a word document that you can print at the end. Is this a reliable mean for publishing your own prenup? If I can draft my own prenup and submit it to the state, is a lawyer merely there for a legal notarization or endorsement? Could I just simply cut out the middle man here (the lawyer) and save myself 3k? Obviously, this would be more challenging than having a lawyer deal with it- with all the legal jargon and higher probability of making costly mistakes, but in theory, you can do it, right? Thank you very much!

ajr22
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by ajr22 » Fri Aug 19, 2016 3:13 pm

I would not suggest a do-it-yourself approach. (or with wills for that matter)

At least in Connecticut, if each party does not have their own independent counsel (attorney), a prenup is unenforceable. I'm not sure of the rules in CA but I would think it best to look into them. 3k is cheap insurance considering what you might face down the road...

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sperry8
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by sperry8 » Fri Aug 19, 2016 4:05 pm

ajr22 wrote:I would not suggest a do-it-yourself approach. (or with wills for that matter)

At least in Connecticut, if each party does not have their own independent counsel (attorney), a prenup is unenforceable. I'm not sure of the rules in CA but I would think it best to look into them. 3k is cheap insurance considering what you might face down the road...


That is correct. You and your partner much each have their own lawyer to represent them or it can be unenforceable.
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littlebird
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by littlebird » Fri Aug 19, 2016 4:30 pm

Maybe in this era it would be sufficient if they each had their own app. :P

renter
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by renter » Fri Aug 19, 2016 4:40 pm

This is definitely not a DIY project. A friend of mine is family law attorney with 3 decades of experience and even she didn't write her own marital agreement when she remarried recently. When I asked her if she had someone else draft the agreement for her, she said, "of course. what do you think I am, a fool?"

Engineer250
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by Engineer250 » Fri Aug 19, 2016 4:43 pm

California is a community property state. I would absolutely pay the money for a lawyer if you want a prenup. You don't necessarily each need your own, but a lawyer with experience who will think through all the consequences could be critical.

$3,000 is not a lot of money to spend in this instance. What is the value of assets you are trying to "protect" in this case? If you are having heartburn over $3,000 you may not need a prenup :D That said, there is a reddit post on the personal finance subreddit talking about a guy who bought a house with his girlfriend and one of the commenters said they spent something like $1-$2k on a lawyer for a prenup in CA, that it was relatively easy since both agreed on the terms, but that the lawyer figured out some pretty critical information about taxes and they were glad they paid for it.
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Carefreeap
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by Carefreeap » Fri Aug 19, 2016 5:27 pm

Engineer250 wrote:California is a community property state. I would absolutely pay the money for a lawyer if you want a prenup. You don't necessarily each need your own, but a lawyer with experience who will think through all the consequences could be critical.

$3,000 is not a lot of money to spend in this instance. What is the value of assets you are trying to "protect" in this case? If you are having heartburn over $3,000 you may not need a prenup :D That said, there is a reddit post on the personal finance subreddit talking about a guy who bought a house with his girlfriend and one of the commenters said they spent something like $1-$2k on a lawyer for a prenup in CA, that it was relatively easy since both agreed on the terms, but that the lawyer figured out some pretty critical information about taxes and they were glad they paid for it.


I thought the same thing! :sharebeer

The consult with the attorney may open your eyes to what "community property" means. :wink:

Rodc
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by Rodc » Fri Aug 19, 2016 5:41 pm

If you have enough to need a prenup you have enough to get it done right. IMHO.

If not then why bother?
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Katietsu
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by Katietsu » Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:16 pm

I would think it would be useful to work through the DIY pre-nup together even though you do not plan to finalize it. You might then even be able to reduce the cost of a lawyer orchestrated pre-nup since you had already discussed most of the issues.

denovo
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by denovo » Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:24 pm

Rodc wrote:If you have enough to need a prenup you have enough to get it done right. IMHO.

If not then why bother?



plus one

hcj
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by hcj » Fri Aug 19, 2016 9:34 pm

denovo wrote:
Rodc wrote:If you have enough to need a prenup you have enough to get it done right. IMHO.

If not then why bother?



plus one


+2

Also my understanding is you each need your own lawyer if you expect it to hold up in court. Otherwise the injured party might successfully claim that you tricked them into signing.

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bottlecap
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by bottlecap » Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:33 pm

I don't know the law in CA, but prenups are a funny thing and are generally disfavored but courts, for lack of a better term (the state has its own laws and they like to enforce them!).

Prenups are harder than wills to do right and involve more than drafting considerations to be valid. I would not do anything to give a court an excuse not to honor it.

Translation: get a lawyer!

JT

P.S. Isn't $3,000 a months rent in CA? Big deal.

123
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by 123 » Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:01 pm

If you're simply trying to avoid a $3,000 legal expenses for a prenup it sort of tells us that maybe you don't have enough assets to need a real prenup anyway. How much do you have to lose? Would you rather "lose" a $3,000 legal expense or half of everything you've got?
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malenurse
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by malenurse » Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:41 pm

Thank you for the responses, guys. My mind was navigating down the same road you guys are with your logic/advice. I don't have much for assets at all, but, as I've come to learn- I/she may strike gold one day and wouldn't want the newly acquired fortune to be partially defaulted to the other because of state law should we split up. And right you are, 3k is nothing compared to what might happen down the road. Thanks again.

SuzBanyan
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by SuzBanyan » Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:05 am

malenurse wrote:Thank you for the responses, guys. My mind was navigating down the same road you guys are with your logic/advice. I don't have much for assets at all, but, as I've come to learn- I/she may strike gold one day and wouldn't want the newly acquired fortune to be partially defaulted to the other because of state law should we split up. And right you are, 3k is nothing compared to what might happen down the road. Thanks again.

I'm confused by your post. Pre-nuptial agreement are best at protecting the seperate property nature of assets you own before marriage. What is the current value of those assets?

stan1
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by stan1 » Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:00 pm

malenurse wrote:Thank you for the responses, guys. My mind was navigating down the same road you guys are with your logic/advice. I don't have much for assets at all, but, as I've come to learn- I/she may strike gold one day and wouldn't want the newly acquired fortune to be partially defaulted to the other because of state law should we split up. And right you are, 3k is nothing compared to what might happen down the road. Thanks again.


In CA a gift, inheritance and insurance payout are considered separate assets unless you co-mingle with community property.

I'm not sure what type of agreement you are envisioning? Do you anticipate keeping track of each spouse's income during the course of the marriage and then splitting assets based off that ratio if you divorce? Are you thinking that if one of you starts a successful business it would be separate property?

Best advice may be to not get married if this is a major concern.

Derby
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by Derby » Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:05 pm

malenurse wrote: I/she may strike gold one day and wouldn't want the newly acquired fortune to be partially defaulted to the other because of state law should we split up.


Not an attorney, but I'm pretty sure a pre-nup won't help you in this case. Assets acquired during the marriage in a community property state (unless a gift or inheritance) are community property. Unless either of you have significant assets right now, you may not need a pre-nup.
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tim1999
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Re: Self-drafting prenuptial agreement in CA

Post by tim1999 » Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:58 pm

If your net worth is enough to be considering a pre-nup, having a lawyer do it is cheap insurance. If you want it to hold up in court, both parties need to be represented by lawyers and both sides have to get a chance to review it well before the wedding.

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